Last week, I reported that Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia has implemented a policy of refusing to hire smokers. It turns out, however, that the policy is even more extreme than I reported.
The Rest of the Story
Actually, the policy precludes not only smokers from employment, but also precludes ex-smokers who are using the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or any other nicotine replacement product. This would include electronic cigarette users, no matter how long they have remained off cigarettes.
Research demonstrates that a substantial proportion of ex-smokers who quit using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) continue to use NRT products for a long time after quitting. Thus, the Gwinnett Medical Center policy not only disqualifies smokers from employment, but a sizable proportion of ex-smokers as well.
The policy states that: "effective July 1, 2010 Gwinnett Medical Center will not hire any individual who uses tobacco in any form. This policy applies to any job applicant, including previous employees. As an applicant for employment at Gwinnett Medical Center, I verify that I do not use any tobacco product, such as cigarettes, cigars, chew, snuff, pipe, nicotine gum or patch, etc. "
This policy disqualifies not only smokers, but even individuals who might occasionally light up a cigar. Thus, not only would President Obama have his application thrown in the garbage if he applied for a job at Gwinnett Medical Center, but Michael Jordan would also have his application thrown in the garbage if he applied to run the sports medicine training gym at the medical center (remember the victory cigars he lit up after his NBA championships?).
What kind of message is it sending to the public to let them know that if you use nicotine replacement therapy to successfully quit smoking, your services will not be wanted at Gwinnett Medical Center?
It seems quite clear that the tobacco policy at Gwinnett is driven not by sincere health concerns, but by an extreme, discriminatory and intolerant, ideological view.
(Thanks to EinsteinSmoked for bringing this to my attention.)