Nicotine & Work

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    So I am wondering on what people think about drug testing for nicotine as a condition of employment? In my area 2 out of 3 hospital systems do it (so about 10 or more hospitals) and I am not sure about the outlaying hospital systems. They don't do random drug tests but they reserve the right to fire you if you use nicotine products while employed. I don't think they do a nicotine drug test if you get injured as it is an additional device that kind of looks like a pregnancy test.

    People who were hired in before the ban are grandfathered in.

    Any thoughts on the issue? I've seen people complain on marijuana drug testing and nicotine is a legal drug. People are not being hired because they test positive and one system goes as far as to say that they view it as lying on the application if you test positive.
  2. 16 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Well if one wants the job, one should not smoke. That's how I see it. If the addiction to nicotine is that strong, then one should work somewhere nicotine is accepted.

    I was a smoker, I quit when I decided to return to school. I was aware that policies like that existed and knew I limited my employability if I kept smoking. I was a pack and a half a day smoker for 12 years, even with a medical condition which made it dangerous to smoke. It was 5 real **** days and it was over. It is not impossible to quit.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 14 : Reason: TOS
  4. 1
    My friend had to quit dipping. I think he gave himself 30 days to do it.
    madore57 likes this.
  5. 1
    Well, I think it is absolutely ridiculous, but I understand why the hospital would do it, and they have the right to make you jump through whatever hoops they want, generally speaking. It's just one of those things you gotta deal with.
    Dobeigh likes this.
  6. 1
    More and more hospitals are going in this direction. I have no problem with it. My current employer (a large, academic medical center) has not gone that far yet, but they are implementing a new policy later this year that employees aren't allowed to smoke at all on the property during work hours (even on their lunch and breaks) or smell of smoke at any point during work hours (including when you arrive at the beginning of shift). You'll get counseled and sent home for doing so, and, eventually, fired. This is a further tightening of the policy already in place, and I'm sure that they'll make it even stricter in a few more years (maybe go to the nicotine testing at that point).
    not.done.yet likes this.
  7. 1
    I have several issues with nicotine testing. For starters they are discriminating based on legal activity done away from the work premises. They have every right to say don't smoke on our property and don't smell of cigarette smoke while on duty. I don't believe they have the right to discriminate because someone smokes on their own time and premises. They'll do it, of course, until they are stopped by a lawsuit or someday when there really is a nursing shortage. Also, some of the testing is serum for nicotine byproducts... this isn't only testing for tobacco use, it tests positive for nicotine replacement. So someone using legal products to stop the behaviour in question also gets penalized. It's a lot of intrusion by the employer into private lives and I think it's wrong. But it is the reality right now.
    ceccia likes this.
  8. 4
    Quote from theantichick
    They have every right to say don't smoke on our property and don't smell of cigarette smoke while on duty. I don't believe they have the right to discriminate because someone smokes on their own time and premises.
    Employers have the right to set whatever standards and requirements they wish for employment as long as they're not violating state or Federal employment laws. Smokers are not a protected class. If employers don't want to hire people who use nicotine, they have every legal right to not do so.
  9. 2
    I have mixed feelings on the subject.

    I am a nonsmoker and resent mightily the smoker that will light up in places that others can smell it or be exposed to it. I also resent coworkers who go out for smoke breaks when the rest of us are left picking up the slack while they are gone. I recognize that there is a savings in health insurance premiums when there are fewer smokers enrolled in the plan due to the proven health complications that come with smoking. I also hate it that we let patients go out to smoke.

    That being said, it is a very slippery slope. Next in line is obesity. Those who drink caffeine or alcohol. Those who have diabetes or COPD or CHF. Those who engage in dangerous recreational activities. At what point does it stop?

    Every couple of months this subject comes up on here and it is always a bitter, long, somewhat hateful thread of back and forth. Do a search on the site and you will find them.
    sapphire18 and madore57 like this.
  10. 1
    I am not a smoker and never have been, however if people want to smoke on their own time , away from the hospital, they should have every right to do so! This is America and nicotine is legal. However hospitals should have the ability to make there premises smoke free. All have to agree that smoking is unhealthy and others should not be exposed to second hand smoke. I remember the days when patients were allowed to smoke in their rooms and the nurses' lounge was so thick with smoke that you could hardly breathe... glad those days are over!
    sapphire18 likes this.
  11. 1
    Quote from theantichick
    I don't believe they have the right to discriminate because someone smokes on their own time and premises.
    As long as the employer is not discriminating against an employee over a protected reason (ethnicity, religion, etc.), they can choose to discriminate as they wish.

    Many other employers 'discriminate' based on different reasons. The 300-pound woman who participates in a legal activity on her time off (overeating) will never be hired as a waitress at Hooters because it is well known that this restaurant hires thin, shapely ladies with large breasts to serve customers.
    elkpark likes this.


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