As a health care provider, Wellmont Health System’s policy is to provide a smoke- and tobacco-free environment for all employees and visitors.
That is why we don’t allow smoking or the use of smokeless tobacco products or e-cigarettes (electronic nicotine-delivery devices) in any of our hospitals, provider practices or other facilities, either inside or outside the buildings.
Tobacco products and nicotine devices aren’t allowed in company-owned vehicles either, or in personal vehicles when they’re being used to transport other people on Wellmont-authorized business.
Your car is your temporary workplace if you’re driving to a work-related event, and we have an obligation to safeguard the health and safety of any co-workers who might be travelling with you.
Of course, we restrict the use of tobacco and similar products in our facilities, in large part, due to the health risks they pose to our patients, visitors and staff.
Many people are severely allergic to cigarette smoke. For some, it can trigger a reaction serious enough to send them to the ER, especially if a self-administered dose of
epinephrine (like an EpiPen) isn’t on-hand.
And there are numerous other conditions that studies have linked to secondhand smoke, including:
Wellmont implemented its tobacco-free hiring policy in 2016. As a part of the hiring process, we now test for tobacco and nicotine.
If the outcome of the test is positive, the hiring process will stop and that person will not be offered a position with Wellmont. This requirement also affects contracted workers who would potentially work on-site at a Wellmont location.
Though we have current employees who use tobacco and nicotine products who were hired before our new policy started, the bottom line is…
…we no longer hire new employees who use these products.
Wellmont has a longstanding commitment to promote healthy living and provide high-quality patient care.
This commitment isn’t just to our patients. It’s to our team members as well. And if this policy encourages even a few job candidates to quit using tobacco or nicotine products, our community will be that much healthier, and we’ll all be better off for it.
Not only that, but we have a responsibility as a health care provider to better model the healthy behaviors we promote and work to foster in our region.
Testing positive for tobacco or nicotine now doesn’t mean you can never be part of the Wellmont team.
Applicants who are disqualified by positive tests will be eligible to reapply for a position again after three months.
If you are among those who don’t pass the test, we sincerely hope you’ll kick the habit and come back to explore other opportunities.
In addition to the dangers of secondhand smoke touched on above, the health effects of smoking have long been known.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that smoking increases the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke – two of the leading causes of death – by two to four times.
The chances of developing lung cancer are at least 25 times higher for smokers. And smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
Smokeless tobacco actually delivers about the same amount of nicotine as other tobacco products and contains at least 30 chemicals known to cause cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
In fact, smokeless tobacco has been linked to cancers of the mouth, tongue, cheek, gums, esophagus and pancreas. It also contributes to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes.
Wellmont offers a 4-week tobacco cessation class to the general public. All sessions are conducted by phone.
For details or to register, please call 888-314-7803.
Wellmont assists co-workers who smoke by providing them with free cessation products. We can also help co-workers achieve success through our employee assistance program, which offers other smoking-cessation support.
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