MA Hospital Screens for Nicotine Use

January 14, 2011 ( - Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Massachusetts, has begun testing prospective employees for nicotine use.

The Boston Globe reports the policy is believed to be the first of its kind for a hospital in Massachusetts. Those who fail the screening can forget about a job, but rejected candidates are told to reapply in six months if they’ve quit using tobacco products by then.  

In addition, hospital employees who voluntarily take and pass four health screenings — for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and nicotine — receive a $500 deposit to their health saver account each year they pass the tests. About 47% of the hospital’s 1,000-person workforce participates in the program, according to the Globe.  

The Massachusetts Hospital Association also announced in November it would no longer hire smokers.  

Such policies are a growing trend as companies try to address the health and productivity of employees as well as growing health care costs (see MD Nonprofit Won’t Hire Tobacco Users).