DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The new year means some big changes for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.
Baylor says if you use tobacco of any kind, no need to apply.
Around any of the Baylor campuses smokers have found hidden spots for a quick few puffs. “It’s just a habit I enjoy,” says a Baylor employee who didn’t want to be identified on camera because she worries about losing her job.
The 40-year-old usually goes to a nearby garage for a smoke break and says she doesn’t like Baylor’s new policy. “I don’t want to work for a company who tries to dictate everything you do in your life,” she tells CBS 11. “If I quit I want it to be because I want to quit, not because I’m being mandated by a company.”
Starting January 1 she’ll have to pay $25 extra in health insurance premiums each paycheck because she smokes.
Baylor will also start screening new prospective employees for tobacco usage.
The new screening is similar to drug testing, and will check for tobacco from cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and even nicotine patches.
If tobacco is detected, you won’t get the job.
The new screening will cost Baylor $57,000 a year.
“I’m not smoker. I think people shouldn’t smoke, but if they do I wouldn’t say ‘I wouldn’t hire you because you smoke,'” says jobseeker Craig Lester. He says Baylor shouldn’t make it harder to find a job.
Baylor says they want to be a good role model and encourage healthy habits.
Those who work nearby think it’s a great idea. “Anytime that we eliminate hazardous contaminates from the air, we all stand to benefit from it,” says healthcare worker Lee Swanson.
Baylor is also offering programs to help employees who want to quit smoking.