No-smoking trend picks up steam

In January, news broke that Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Memorial Health Care System would begin screening potential new hires for tobacco and nicotine use and withdraw job offers when candidates test positive. That bold move was simply 2010's opening salvo in the hospital industry's ongoing march toward extinguishing all tobacco use by employees. While hospitals are at various stages of implementing no-smoking policies, there is a definite trend apparent in recent news reports.

Parma (Ohio) Community General Hospital has had a smoke-free campus since 2006, but now it too will require job applicants to be tested for nicotine as part of the pre-employment physical exam, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Job offers will be withdrawn in the event of a positive result. The hospital will offer quit-smoking resources to spurned candidates, who can be reconsidered 90 days after a re-test is negative. Current staff members won't be impacted by the new policy.

The Cleveland Clinic and Akron Children's Hospital already have similar policies in place, enacting bans on hiring smokers in 2007 and 2008, respectively, says the Plain Dealer.

Five hospital systems in Knoxville, Tenn., have banded together to announce their facilities will be smoke-free workplaces by Jan. 1, 2011, says the Knoxville News Sentinel. The systems include Children's Hospital, Covenant Health, Mercy Health Partners, University of Tennessee Medical Center and Maryville's Blount Memorial Hospital. With the ban, hospital employees won't be able to use tobacco products on campus, but patients and visitors will still be allowed to smoke in designated areas. The hospital systems will individually decide when to take the next step and go completely smoke-free.

Brazosport Regional Health System in Lake Jackson, Texas, has banned smoking campus-wide, including outdoor areas, effective this month, and nearby Angleton Danbury Medical Center and Sweeny Community Hospital are already smoke-free, says The Facts.

Southampton (NY.) Hospital also will ban smoking campus-wide on Nov. 18, removing all outdoor designated smoking areas, reports

To learn more:
- read this Plain Dealer article
- here's the News Sentinel article
- check out The Facts article
- read this article