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NSB hospital won't hire smokers after Jan. 1

12:08 PM, Aug 23, 2013   |    comments
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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - If you smoke, don't bother applying for a job at Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach.

Starting Jan. 1, the hospital will no longer hire tobacco users.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 17 percent of adults in Florida are smokers. Take a look at this list of the 30 counties with the most smokers.

According to officials, applicants will be tested for a nicotine byproduct and sign an agreement to remain tobacco-free throughout their employment. The policy doesn't apply to volunteers, medical staff or some 700 employees who are already working at the hospital.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Harrell said the move is to improve the overall health of the workforce and reduce healthcare costs.

"Our mission is to improve the overall health of our Southeast Volusia community, not just treat illness," Harrell said. "Bert Fish Medical Center sets an example for other businesses to improve the health of their workforce by not hiring tobacco users."

In 2009 the hospital became a smoke-free campus. In January 2012, it started charging $25 per paycheck for smokers who elect to take health insurance.

If an employee hired after Jan. 1 tests positive for the nicotine byproduct, they will be subject to disciplinary action up to termination.

The hospital offers free tobacco-cessation counseling to employees and their families.


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