UAB Medicine's new tobacco policy - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

UAB Medicine's new tobacco policy

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Is it going too far? UAB Medicine says it will no longer hire people who use tobacco. The policy starts in July. Potential employees will even be tested for nicotine. The CEO says the system should be a role model for good health.

Whitney Anderson says "it might open a can of worms." sure, you can't smoke in public but now some employment dreams could go up in smoke unless you quit.

UAB Health System CEO says "I think it's an opportunity to send a message to future generations. If you're a young man or woman training to be a doctor or nurse, if you smoke, you won't be able to work at this hospital and i believe in the near future, at most hospitals in the country."

UAB Medicine wants to encourage people to stop using tobacco products it's even ramping up efforts to help current employees quit.
 
But some believe the policy goes too far, especially making prospective employees take a nicotine test. Whitney Anderson says "I don't think it is fair they're requiring people to take that test because if I wanted to smoke, that's my decision, it shouldn't affect whether you hire me for that."

Jess Mann says "smoking is not illegal. I don't agree with it as a health style choice, but it's not something that is illegal and don't think they should discriminate because of it." Mann believes people should be hired based on their ability.

UAB Medicine says it's not illegal to enact the policy. It's something many health systems are starting to do and there are people who agree with it.

Dick Brittain says "smoking really in all, I think it's more harmful that people realize. I think the more its affects can be reduced, the better it will be for everybody."

The new hiring policy announcement comes just in time for the 37th Great American Smoke Out, which happens to be Thursday. More than 20-percent of Alabamians smoke and nearly 10 percent use smokeless tobacco.

 

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