By Brad Segall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the largest employers in the Philadelphia suburbs says it will no longer hire workers who smoke.  And it is instituting new regulations for its current employees.

Main Line Health says it will no longer hire tobacco and nicotine users after May 1st.  And in addition to that, the health system says it will require its current employees who smoke to pay a surcharge for their healthcare benefits, beginning next year.

Paul Yakulis, Main Line Health’s senior vice president for human resources, says it’s the right thing to do.

“We are a health system,” he told KYW Newsradio today, “and part of our mission is to keep the populations that we serve healthy.  And smoking is the number one, leading cause of preventable death in this country.”

When registering for medical benefits next year, he says, current employees will be required to certify whether or not they use tobacco products.  If they indicate a willingness to try to stop, the health system has programs for them.

Main Line Health is the parent company for Bryn Mawr, Lankenau, Riddle, Paoli, and Bryn Mawr Rehab hospitals.

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