Pennsylvania Hospital to Stop Hiring Smokers

St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network in Bethlehem, Penn., announced this week that as of May 1 it will only hire non-smokers, The Morning Call of Allentown reported.

The hospital is the second-largest employer in the region, with over 7,000 employees.

"While some may view this as a bold move, our organization feels strongly that promoting a healthier workplace benefits everyone," said Bob Zimmel, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at St. Luke's. St. Luke’s is the first business in the region to institute the no-smokers policy.

Starting May 1, applicants to St. Luke’s will be screened for nicotine, much like some employers screen for illegal drugs. Applicants who test positive for nicotine will be ineligible for employment until they can retest with a negative result and will receive information on getting help kicking the habit. Employees already working at St. Luke’s will not be affected by the policy.

Pennsylvania is one of 20 states in which no-nicotine hiring policies are legal.