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No Butts About It: Local Hospital To Stop Hiring Smokers

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Not hiring smokers. In an unusual move, a local hospital says it will no longer hire people who light up.

Christie Ileto explains the controversial move the hospital says is all in the name of health.

No butts about it. Thursday, Anne Arundel Medical Center says they will stop hiring applicants who use tobacco.

“We want to have a healthy workforce, a healthier environment for our patients and visitors,” said Dr. Stephen Cattaneo, Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Cattaneo says, for the center’s 4,000 employees, it’s about practicing what you preach.

Ileto: “How do you legally get around hiring somebody who does smoke?”

Cattaneo: “In Maryland, there are no discrimination laws against folks who smoke.”

While Maryland doesn’t, its neighbors–D.C. and Virginia–do. The new employment policy doesn’t go into effect until next summer, but this July, the medical center’s six campuses will also completely ban tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.

It’s not sitting well with everyone. Wednesday says she understands the hospital’s push for healthier living, but:

“It should be your choice. It’s a freedom we should have,” she said.

Right now, smokers can smoke on public sidewalks around the hospital. But that’s all going to change when the hospital becomes tobacco free.

Employee Jill Smitley says the lingering smell of smoke can be cumbersome for patients.

“It makes them nauseous. And you don’t want that for people,” Smitley said.

Employees who smoke won’t lose their jobs once the policy goes into effect, but will have to comply with the new rules.

Starting next month, there will be no designated places to smoke around the hospital campus.

The new policy is the first of its kind in the Annapolis area, but not the first in the country. The Cleveland Clinic required employees to be tobacco free in 2007.

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