As of January 1, tobacco will be treated like a drug by one of Colorado’s largest healthcare systems. Centura Health announced today it will screen job applicants for tobacco — found in nearly two dozen products, including cigarettes, snus, cigars and chewing tobacco — and those who test positive will be eliminated from job consideration. The company explained the change will “promote the health of its workplace and help associates control their health care costs.” Any applicants who test positive for tobacco  can reapply in 90 days, presumably after they quit the habit.The policy currently exempts Centura’s current 17,100 employees and only applies to future hires. Smoking and use of other tobacco products have been prohibited on any of Centura’s 15 hospital grounds since 2012.Below is the full statement released by Centura Health Thursday.

Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, will enhance its smoke/tobacco-free workplace policy to no longer hire tobacco users, effective Jan. 1, 2015. In 2012, Centura Health became smoke- and tobacco-free at all its entities and facilities, so the use of tobacco products on Centura Health premises is already prohibited. As Centura Health moves upstream to manage health, the enhanced policy demonstrates its continued commitment to create and maintain a healthy workplace.Tobacco use is undeniably dangerous to a person’s health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use leads to disease and disability and is the leading preventable cause of death. Modifying its existing policy to reflect a tobacco-free hiring workplace in Colorado and Kansas is the latest step Centura Health is taking to promote the health of its workplace and help associates control their health care costs.The change to the smoke/tobacco-free workplace policy does not apply to current associates. Under the enhanced policy, applicants selected for a position after Jan. 1 will be tested for tobacco as part of their post-job offer screening. Applicants who test positive for tobacco use will be eliminated from consideration and may be eligible to reapply for job opportunities at Centura Health following 90 days after their last test result. Learn more about Centura Health’s tobacco-free hiring workplace.Centura Health encourages its associates to actively manage their health and wellness and provides resources to help them be successful through a number of tools including CaféWell, the Centura Health Quitline, the Profile Employee Assistance Program, and the classes and wellness coaching available at Centura Health entities.

Do you agree with Centura Health’s new anti-tobacco hiring policy? Would you enforce it at your own workplace?