Akron Hospital to Begin Testing for Nicotine

July 30, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - As of November 1, Akron Children's Hospital's pre-employment drug testing will include a screen for nicotine.

Applicants who test positive will not be hired, regardless of their experience or qualifications, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Walt Schwoeble, vice president of human resources, told the newspaper the new hiring policy will continue Akron Children’s goal of “modeling healthy behaviors to the patients and families we serve.”

Between August 1 and October 31, newly hired applicants who test positive for nicotine as part of their pre-employment physical will be encouraged to use free stop-smoking programs offered to current employees. Current employees will not be affected by the new policy.

According to the Beacon Journal, during a presentation at last month’s Akron Roundtable, Cleveland Clinic President and Chief Executive Dr. Delos M. “Toby” Cosgrove reported that its no-smoker policy, adopted in 2005, saved the health-care system about $7 million last year in medical costs, missed time, and productivity.

Critics of such policies argue that people should be able to do what they want on their own time, especially when it’s something legal.

Other employers have adopted similar policies (See FL County Tells Smoking Applicants: Do Not Apply ), and some have imposed greater health care benefit costs to employees who smoke (See Whirlpool Workers Lied about Smoking to Dodge Premium Hike ).