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At MI hospitals, smokers need not apply

The Detroit News, March 14, 2011
Smokers, tobacco users, even those using nicotine patches to kick the habit, shouldn't bother applying for a job at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester. Or Bixby Medical Center in Adrian. Same goes for Herrick Medical Center in Tecumseh. The three Michigan hospitals are among several health systems and some private companies across the country that have adopted policies to hire only nonsmokers and nontobacco users, citing the need to live up to their health missions. The policies, which come after most hospitals have already banned smoking on their campuses, also help lower employee health care costs, said Laura Ritzler, director of wellness for ProMedica, which owns the Bixby and Herrick medical centers. And several national studies have shown smokers use more sick days and have higher medical costs than nonsmokers. The policy changes, however, raise questions about the rights of the 1 in 5 Americans who smoke, using a legal product in time off the clock, and whether the move could lead to other employer bans.

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