The Anne Arundel Medical Center has become the latest in a list of hospitals to announce that it’ll stop hiring people who smoke as of July 1, 2015. Many other hospitals in the region, including the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Union Memorial, and the Baltimore Washington Medical Center have similar policies in place. But are they fair to employees?
According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, making a hospital a smoke-free zone not only shows a commitment to health care, but it also lowers costs, increases productivity, and encourages employees to quit.
But some experts object to these increasingly popular policies, claiming that it’s unethical to bar one category of people from employment. “What is the best way to get a doctor or nurse who smokes to stop? Make sure they cannot get a job? Oh yeah — that will surely make them kick the habit!,” writes Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “Why not hire them, tell them they have to get into anti-smoking programs and pay them a bonus when they stay smoke-free?”
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