M.D. Anderson adopts no-tobacco hiring policy
No smokers need apply. That will be the new policy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as of Jan. 1.
When the "tobacco-free hiring policy" goes into effect, all job applicants will have to take a tobacco-screening test. If they test positive for tobacco, they can get smoking-cessation materials and information from M.D. Anderson and apply again for open positions in six months, if they're tobacco-free then.
It's just one volley in the institution's ongoing war on preventable cancer.
"This is one aspect of the many things we have done for cessation and education to bend the arc of what is a significant problem in the nation and the world," said Ronald DePinho, president of M.D. Anderson. "We felt our efforts needed to begin at home."
Houston Methodist hospitals went tobacco-free for job applicants in 2013, following the corporation that runs the Texas Medical Center in 2011 and Memorial Hermann in 2010.
"We took our time because we wanted to engage in a broad discussion across the institution," said DePinho.
Tobacco detection will be done as part of the standard drug testing of prospective employees by urinalysis, said Shibu Varghese, vice president for human resources at M.D. Anderson.
Present employees and those hired before the implementation date will not be screened for tobacco use.