By Christina Hager, WBZ-TVBy Christina Hager

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.

The hospital is requiring job applicants to take nicotine tests. If they test positive, they’ll be rejected. If they quit smoking, they can try again six months later.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports.

“How far do we want our private employers to intrude in our private lives?” asks employee rights attorney Philip Gordon. “What happens if, during that blood test, they find out something else about me?”

Hospital spokesperson Deb Chiaravalloti says, “We believe as a health care organization we need to make sure we have a healthy environment for our employees and our patients. Smokers are not a protected class.”

Last year, the hospital prohibited employees from smoking in the designated fenced-off area outside the building.

Next year, the hospital plans to ban smoking on the campus all together, even for patients and visitors.

While Anna Jaques is the first hospital in Massachusetts to require nicotine testing, it is not the first employer. Last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced it is no longer hiring smokers.

Christina Hager

Comments (348)
  1. Todd T says:

    A nicotine test that is positive does not mean you are a smoker. I’ve not smoked in months, but I’m on nicotine gum. Doesn’t make sense.

  2. Daniel says:

    It’s one thing for employers to require applicants to pass a drug screening and criminal background check, but credit checks? What if, God forbid, someone lost their job, became homeless or went bankrupt, which ruined their credit for a few years. Unless one is applying for a position that demands certain responsibilities (a CEO, an accountant), why does any employer need to know personal financial information? Also, if employers should be able to do anything they please, is it legal for them to spy on employees, even when they’re at home? I’m all for the Free Market, but sometimes corporations cross lines of decency.

  3. Former smoker says:

    Smoking is NOT a civil right. People don’t CHOOSE the color of their skin but they CHOOSE to smoke. In a way, people choose their religion but usually they are brought up in it from the time they are born and don’t know any different. People start smoking when they are old enough to know better and they CHOOSE to do it anyway. As a society we constantly make laws for the good of society as a whole that “infringe” on the individuals “rights”. You can’t drive any speed you want to. You can’t park any place you want to. You can’t use illegal drugs if you want to. Smoking is deadly. Its effects accounts for more health care expenditures than anything else and the more places that ban it the better.

  4. Tom says:

    It’s all a matter of who’s in a PVG, Protected Victim Group, and who isn’t. When the hospital administration refuses to hire a surgical nurse that’s HIV positive these same people now defending them will screaming for their crucifixion. How about a devout Muslim that eats with his right hand and wipes himself with his left? You want one of them in the kitchen making your meal?

  5. mia1984 says:

    Does this mean they can also reject HIV+ applicants?

  6. Wes says:

    Stupid policy. But if its a private business, then it’s their decision to make.

  7. Hard habit to kick, but its fair. Smoking is bad, doesn’t help and i wish all smoking would end! The lwa smoke, but they can do that since they are “Dead” and beyond all pain and suffering! Give your smokes to the lwa and drop your habit.
    I would not like smokers at my business either.

  8. Rusty says:

    Refusing to hire liberals – now there’s a great idea.

  9. cynic says:

    Why would anyone want to work for these sickos?

  10. cynic says:

    Every one is missing the point…It’s not about rights this and right that….It’s about…..These people aren’t human…they are sick…..They would have been the first to load the trains to the concentration camps. The Tobacco hysteria allows them an acceptable way to practice their sickness.

  11. cynic says:

    Hitler is alive and well and living in Newburyport.

  12. cynic says:

    While they are testing for nicotine are they also testing for AIDS?

  13. cynic says:

    Smokers are not a protected class.. They are the perfect victims…You can do whatever you want to them.

  14. cynic says:

    Would WBZ be kind enough to un delete ‘Billy’s” comment….Obviously it is interesting enough for so many to comment on….I would like to be allowede to see what he said.

  15. cynic says:

    Since WBZ apparently not going to print Billy’s comment would someone please quote it to me?

  16. cynic says:

    Why do smokers stand outside and smoke? Because the non-smokers have made rules to force them to stand outside and smoke. Why did the non-smokers make these rules that force Smokers to stand out side and smoke….So they could complain about smokers standing outside smoking.

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