Some Workplaces Ban Smoking and Smokers

By Mary Collins

Making 2010 smoke-free.

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 9:16 AM EDT

TOLEDO, OH., (Indiana's NewsCenter)--- More job-seekers are facing an added requirement: no smoking — at work or anytime.

As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won't hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches.

Such tobacco-free hiring policies, designed to promote health and reduce insurance premiums, took effect this month at the Baylor Health Care System in Texas and will apply at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, when it opens this year.

Each year, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths and costs the nation $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says 19.3% of U.S. adults smoked last year, down from 42.4% in 1965.

The policies stir outrage, even in the public health community.

After several companies, including Alaska Airlines, adopted smoker-hiring bans a couple of decades ago, the tobacco industry and the American Civil Liberties Union lobbied for smoker rights. As a result, 29 states and the District of Columbia passed smoker-protection laws.

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