Friday, June 17, 2011

Smokers need not apply

SSM hospitals in St. Louis have announced that they are starting a tobacco free hiring policy effective July 1.

Citing a CDC study finding that smokers cost companies an additional $3400 annually in increased medical costs and lost productivity,
Job applicants at the seven SSM hospitals in the St. Louis area will be asked whether they have used tobacco in the last six months. Anyone who answers yes will be eliminated from the hiring process.

"As an organization that provides health care, we want to encourage our employees to take better care of themselves and set good examples for our patients," said SSM spokesman Chris Sutton.

Cost-cutting is a side benefit of the new policy, Sutton said, because "healthier employees does mean lower health care costs."
This reflects the dramatic social change that has occurred in the last 20 years on smoking.

This all started in 1988 when Ronald Reagan signed the Federal Aviation Act into law, with the Durban amendment banning smoking on all domestic flights of two hours or less. Smokers squealed like stuck pigs but just a year later a national survey showed that 98% of all non-smokers and a surprising 58% of smokers approved the ban. At this same time more and more work places were going smoke free and then entire states when California went smoke free in 1995.

How much longer can Missouri hold out? Missouri is only one of eleven states that currently do not have a smoking ban in some form. The others are Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, SC, Texas, West Virgina and Wyoming. Embarrassing company if you ask me.

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