Baylor Health: Sign Says Smokers Need Not Apply

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.

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  • JM

    I’m all in favor of this new practice. I have read that it is a growing phenomenon across the country, not hiring smokers and charging existing employees who do smoke a higher premium for their health insurance.

    Aside from the health costs, smokers pollute the air around them with their noxious fumes. I get nauseated from the stench and my sinuses clamp down making it hard to breathe. When dining out, I look for restaurants that don’t allow smoking inside the building, I thought it was a great blessing when the city of Dallas banned smoking in restaurants there.

    • Julie

      If “noxious fumes” concern you, be sure to avoid parking garages, as well. Lots of people have taken their own lives by attaching a hose to the tail pipe of a car and inhaling, right? I’m just saying…

    • Freedom Fighter

      You’re a traitor to liberty. Yes, private businesses like restaurants should have the right to ban smoking in their establishment IF THEY SO CHOOSE but cities don’t. You don’t get to tell people what to do, maybe they’re put off by the stench of you perfume or body odor. Maybe you eat too much or don’t exercise enough. Maybe you drive more often than others therefore adding more than your share of pollution to the air. Do you see where I’m going with this, where does it end? I have no use for elitist mentality.

      • caribbean chic

        and right you are!

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  • EndDrugTesting

    I’m ashamed of anyone who continues working for a company who dictates what you can and can’t do. I support the right for a private business to make its own rules including discrimination but I don’t support people who give up the right to privacy.

  • Howard Hilmer-Tyson

    Well what’s our next freedom to be taken away by some law… Sad to say America is no longer the land of the free and home of the brave…
    It’s more like the land of high taxes and no rights…

  • JetPro

    Did a gruop of ‘FAT’ directors come up with this….

  • JetPro

    CDC: Obesity approaching tobacco as top preventable cause of death….

    When will they stop hiring ‘FAT’ people….

    Smokers are better workers than fat people…

    • NiteNurse

      While I agree that smoking is a terrible habit BUT so is being overweight. I’m pretty sure if they fired and never hired any nurses who were over their ideal weight half of the nursing staff would be gone! How about increasing the amount smokers and overweight employees pay for their insurance? I’m sure that this is just Baylor’s way to get free publicity.

      • mike M

        More like 85% of the staff.

  • SocalGirlinTX

    Cigarettes are stinky and gross. But besides that, why in the world would you want to pollute your body? Maybe the new policy will be an incentive to current workers to quit this nasty, unhealthy habit.

    • V. Beal

      Being a nurse for over twenty years and have never smoked a day in my life, do believe in the rights of people to be able to enjoy a legal habit.God help us all when they only hire people with so called good healthy habits. It is just wrong. I can’t wail until the first lawsuit. I don’t like smoke, but i respect the rights of smokers

  • Julie

    Although we are all aware that cigarettes are a proven health hazard, our government has yet to enact legislation that prevents any of us from smoking them. Until they do, I feel that company policies such as this are wide open to a quite valid argument concerning discrimination. What about the costs of medical treatment for the diseased livers of employees who choose to drink alcohol? What about those “sweet-toothed” employees who may one day find themselves battling diabetes?

  • Cindy Graham Quick

    Just another form of discrimination

  • M

    It’s about time to punish smokers for what they have been doing to non-smokers. Smokers are selfish and irresponsible about their own health and the health of others. They contribute to disease by spreading second hand smoke and littering with used up cigarette butts. It’s great to see more cities in DFW going smoke-free and also business like Baylor cracking down on this gross habit. Oh, and smokers who have an issue with what I have said, GET OVER IT.

    • Susan Winters

      so right you are M, I dont get why smokers thing that the ground is an ashtray. But it doesnt surprise me that they are here having a hissy fit. Wanna smoke, keep it at home and your butts off the ground.

      • Stefanie

        I am a smoker but do not put cigs out on the ground. I smoke in my home or in my car. Just because you are not a smoker doesnt mean this wont effect non smokers. Do you honestly think that these people should lose their job because they are doing something that is legal? The Hospital is saying that if you have tobacco in your system you will be fired. What if I worked there and only smoked on lunch away from the job and only at home, should they fire me because of something that I do at home that is legal. What if I went to school for years to be a Nurse and smoke? The school was for nothing because I smoke. I could quit but how should your job force you to stop doing something that IS NOT ILLEGAL? I say all this but I do understand that the hospital doesnt want the hospital employees to smoke in front of the building but what I do on my own time shouldn’t matter.

  • Sally Mae

    i have a problem with this because smoking tobacco is not illegal. until tobacco is outlawed in our country, i don’t see the point in doing this. offer incentives to your employees, yes, but how can you prohibit smoking when it is legal?

  • S.Perry

    WTG Baylor. Smoking is gross and its affects other people’s breathing.

    Time to get smokers out of the job market.

    They cost the health system more and taking 5 or more “smoke breaks” (breaks I DON’T get, btw)….they’re less productive by 5 or more hours per week.

    I doubt that overweight folks that all the extra time away from the job.

  • Mike m

    When the hospital is able to rid itself of all the Staph, MRSA, VRE, and other drug resistant strains THEN they will have more of a leg to stand on about health and safety. I don’t think they are doing it for “safety”, they are REALLY doing this because people are taking smoke breaks and not clocking out. We will still see patients with their IV poles chillin on Gaston Ave having a smoke. You are not fixing anything but only creating more problems.

  • Dan Ford

    What about people that pass gas in restaurants and other public places?

  • LK

    It has nothing to do with your right to smoke. It has to do with the business of medicine. What kind of example is the nurse or other health care worker providing when she tells her patient not to smoke (and other unhealthy habits) and then engages in those same habits. They are not firing current employees, simply not hiring those who use nicotine. They are addressing obesity as well. There are no healthier options for the vending machines and in the cafeteria. No more sugary soda, only juice, water, and diet drinks. It is not discrimination, it is leading by example.

  • Steven Gauss

    My grandmother was a Baylor employee and a smoker. She died in 1991 from the effects of ending lung disease among other things. Thank you Benson and Hedges, Pall-Mall and the rest

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