Maryland Hospital Not Hiring Smokers

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBS) — In an unusual move, a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland will no longer hire people who light up.  Officials at Anne Arundel Medical Center says they will stop hiring applicants who use tobacco.

“We want to have a healthy workforce, a healthier environment for our patients and visitors,” said Dr. Stephen Cattaneo, Anne Arundel Medical Center.  Dr. Cattaneo says, for the center’s 4,000 employees, it’s about practicing what you preach. He says Maryland  does not have discrimination laws to protect smokers.   While Maryland doesn’t, its neighbors Washington, DC and Virginia do.

The new employment policy doesn’t go into effect until next summer, but this July, the medical center’s six campuses will also completely ban tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.

Right now, smokers can smoke on public sidewalks around the hospital. But that’s all going to change when the hospital becomes tobacco free.   Employee Jill Smitley says the lingering smell of smoke can be cumbersome for patients.   “It makes them nauseous. And you don’t want that for people,” Smitley said.

Employees who smoke won’t lose their jobs once the policy goes into effect, but will have to comply with the new rules.  Starting next month, there will be no designated places to smoke around hospital campus.

The new policy is the first of its kind in the Annapolis area, but not the first in the country. The Cleveland Clinic required employees to be tobacco free in 2007.

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