There are no butts about this one: smoking will soon be the reason one Detroit Medical Center will not hire. Starting next month, all new hires will be tested for nicotine. It's a nationwide trend that's rooting itself in the medical community of Detroit.
For the smokers who work at the DMC, the announcement the health system will start a no nicotine hiring policy has current employees on edge.
It may not apply to them, but off camera they say it makes them wonder what's coming in the future.
"We want to engage our community, we want to be role models in the community, and this aligns us with our parent company Vanguard Health Systems and their initiative on safety and health for life," says Dr. Suzanne White.
The DMC joins Oakwood and Crittenton in adopting the policy, which will screen new applicants for nicotine. Test positive and there's no job for you.
So, legally, can these hospitals do this? The short answer is yes.
Twenty-nine states have adopted laws that protect the employment rights of smokers. Michigan is not one of them, which leaves smokers without any legal grounds to challenge the hiring policy.
And while the DMC and the other health systems talk about health and wellness, there's a major monetary and productivity component as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths a year and costs the nation 19 billion dollars in health bills and lost productivity.