Starting in 2013 UAB Medicine won't hire tobacco users - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Starting in 2013 UAB Medicine won't hire tobacco users

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Smokers need not apply. Wednesday, UAB Medicine announced that next year they would not longer hire anyone who uses tobacco products.

After July 1, 2013 all new hires will be tested for nicotine. If they test postive, that employee will not be able to work in the system.

"Tobacco use is a major cause of illness and death in our state," UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany, Ph.D. said in a press release. "As health-care providers, UAB Medicine and the entities that comprise it should be role models for good health behaviors, and lead by example in the quest for good health."

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 7,500 Alabamians die each year from tobacco-related illnesses.

The mandate applies to anyone working UAB Health System, UAB Hospital, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, The Kirklin Clinic, The Kirklin Clinic at Acton Road, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, University of Alabama Ophthalmology Services Foundation, Triton Health Systems L.L.C./VIVA Health Inc. and UAB Health Centers.

The policy will not apply to UAB as a whole or to employees previously hired by the health system. Ferniany points out that UAB has encouraged current employees to quit through a workplace program.

The policy may sound great to some but others question its legality. FOX6 News spoke with several local attorneys about the new policy and they said while the practice isn't widespread, it doesn't appear to be illegal.

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