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In one Florida county, nicotine is a banned drug

Flagler County commissioners in Florida are taking a tough new stance against tobacco users looking for work -- by considering nicotine a banned drug. 

Beginning Oct. 1, prospective county employees will be required to take a nicotine test in addition to pre-employment drug screening for illegal drugs. 

A failed test would not only deny an otherwise qualified applicant a job, but would also prohibit employment with the county for another 12 months. 

"The tobacco ban applies to anything that would produce nicotine," said Joseph Mayer, Flagler County's community services director. That includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, pipes and snuff. 

Job applicants also must sign an affidavit stating, under penalty of perjury, that they have not used tobacco within one-year of employment. 

"It's the same thing as drug use," Mayer said. "We have a drug-free policy where everyone is tested for drug use before they come on board, and if they start using afterwards we won't know until either a random test or a workers compensation incident." 

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