Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baylor Health Care System Will Not Hire Smokers Trying to Quit or Ex-Smokers Who Remain Off Cigarettes Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy

The Baylor Health Care System has announced that it will no longer hire smokers. But the policy goes far beyond that. The hospital system will not consider for employment smokers who are trying to quit using nicotine replacement therapy or electronic cigarettes. Nor will it hire ex-smokers who are successfully keeping themselves off of cigarettes by using NRT products or electronic cigarettes.

The policy is not simply an anti-smoker policy. It is an anti-nicotine policy. It forbids the employment of anyone who uses nicotine in any form, even if the person is using a product like electronic cigarettes in order to successfully keep away from cigarette smoking.

The Rest of the Story

This policy is making a moral statement, not a public health statement. In fact, in some ways the policy deters the improvement of the public's health by casting a dark cloud on the millions of smokers who are making or have successfully made quit attempts using nicotine replacement therapy, whether in the form of nicotine patches, gum, inhalers, or electronic cigarettes.

Why would a health care system want to discourage people from quitting smoking using nicotine-containing products?

The Baylor Health Care System appears to have joined the abstinence-only movement which has proven so counterproductive in public health.

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