Starting on November 17, Providence Alaska Medical Center will no longer hire tobacco users for employment, Anchorage Daily News reports.
The medical center plans to test employees for nicotine use, in addition to drugs, before making a decision to hire. Tammy Green, director of health management services for Providence Health & Services Alaska, told the news source that his department believes this philosophy will resonate to the community that Providence Alaska Medical Center is both the leading health care facility in the state, as well as leaders and promoters of health. The hospital won't discipline employees for smoking after they've been hired, according to the news source. Marianne Lindsey, Alaska Airlines spokesperson, told the news source her airline's decision to restrict the hiring of tobacco users happened in the 1980's, when the government prohibited smoking on flights. "In general, it's known that smokers' health care costs and productivity losses are significantly higher than non-smokers," Lindsey wrote in an email. "Our per-employee, per-year claims have been lower than the national norms, which yes, we attribute - at least in some part - to having fewer smokers."