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Two Philadelphia Hospitals To Stop Hiring Smokers

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(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia health system’s new policy has sparked controversy.

As of July 1, 2013, two major hospitals under the University of Pennsylvania Health System will cease hiring smokers.

The two hospitals, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, will have similar programs, but Penn’s will trust potential employees on their word, while CHOP will test applicants for tobacco.

Additionally, Penn says it will require employees at both hospitals to provide information about their spouse or dependent’s tobacco use during insurance open enrollment if those people intend to use Penn’s healthcare benefits. If they’re smokers who are not actively enrolled in one of the healthcare system’s smoking cessation or nicotine replacement programs, the employee will pay a higher premium.

According to a statement on the website, the smoker ban is part of the system’s “efforts to improve the overall health of our workforce while reducing health care benefit costs.”

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