Monday, October 28 2013, 07:21 PM EDT
Erlanger Won't Hire Smokers
Light up and Pay up.
New rules at Erlanger mean that they'll stop hiring anyone that's a tobacco user, but if they choose to keep smoking, there may be hefty penalties coming your way.
Kevin Spiegel, President and CEO of Erlanger Medical Center cares about Erlanger's image. "So if you are in a white coat or in scrubs and you represent a nurse or a doctor or a technician and you're out in front of the hospital smoking what message is that giving?"
Last week Erlanger officials announced a tobacco ban within 3 blocks of all its campuses for employees and vendors, starting on Great American Smoke Out Day, November 21. "We are going to go smoke free. And that includes our patients, our staff, and all the associates here," says Spiegel.
Spiegel estimates a third of the system's 4500 employees use tobacco. The hospital will provide counseling to help current employees quit over the next year. Kristy Headrick with the Smoking Cessation Program says "we've set up things for them to have free medications and other things to help them quit smoking.
Administrators hope a daily 30 minute program will help them ditch their habit.
Some residents feel the hospital is out of line. Nearby resident James Bell says "I think we legislate a lot of things too much. I don't smoke and never have, but I think adults should be allowed to make their own decisions."
All current smoking employees will see a premium enhancement and will have to pay more for their health insurance starting July of next year.
Plus, the penalty for employees caught smoking will be steep. A first offense will be a fine of $50 dollars. A second $100 dollars and third will be disciplinary action. All proceeds from those fines will go to the Cancer Center.