Published: Jul 14, 2013 5:23 PM EDT

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - If you want to work for Baptist Health Care and Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, you'll have to give up smoking.
 
Beginning Jan. 1, the hospital will expand its smoking policy, which already prohibits the use of tobacco products by employees, patients and visitors on its Pensacola campuses. Under the new policy, anyone applying for a job will be banned from using tobacco - even when they're not working.
 
According to the Pensacola News Journal (http://on.pnj.com/13IHCB6 ), the new policy also expands to hospital-owned facilities and other facilities. It applies to everyone, including doctors.
 
The policy is aimed at lowering the cost of employee health insurance programs and to promote healthy lifestyles.
 
"We feel confident that this is a change in the right direction for our team members," Baptist CEO Mark T. Faulkner told the News Journal. "As health care providers, we need to provide an environment that supports and encourages health and wellness to improve the quality of life in our community."
 
Sacred Heart CEO Susan Davis said health care providers have an obligation to "set the example for our community and demonstrate healthy living habits."
 
Both hospitals plan to include nicotine on pre-employment drug screening tests. They'll also require an affidavit affirming that the prospective employee does not use alcohol.
 
The businesses, including Gulf Power Co., already have a smoke-free policy in place.
 
New recruits at the Flagler County Sheriff's Office are no longer allowed to use tobacco products. Starting July 5, new employees must pass a tobacco screening or they won't be hired, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/18eUcGf ).
 
Sheriff Jim Manfre said the new policy is a way for employees to make "a major change in their lives."
 
In Volusia County, new sheriff's department employees are also banned from using tobacco. Existing employees can smoke, but "only where expressly permitted." Smoking in vehicles, agency-owned buildings and while dealing with the public is not allowed.
 
Florida and 20 other states allow employers to implement tobacco-free hiring.
 
And not everyone is on board with the idea.
 
Officials at Workrights Institute of Princeton, N.J., say such policies could lead to employers extending the ban to other behaviors that affect the cost of employer-provided health insurance, including alcohol or eating fast food.
 
"We're not seeing a strong national trend among employers across the board to adopt tobacco-free hiring policies, but we are seeing that trend among hospitals and casinos," said Institute President Lewis Mal2 Fla hospitals seeking smoke-free workers
Updates with quotes, details
 
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - If you want to work for Baptist Health Care and Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, you'll have to give up smoking.
 
Beginning Jan. 1, the hospital will expand its smoking policy, which already prohibits the use of tobacco products by employees, patients and visitors on its Pensacola campuses. Under the new policy, anyone applying for a job will be banned from using tobacco - even when they're not working.
 
According to the Pensacola News Journal (http://on.pnj.com/13IHCB6 ), the new policy also expands to hospital-owned facilities and other facilities. It applies to everyone, including doctors.
 
The policy is aimed at lowering the cost of employee health insurance programs and to promote healthy lifestyles.
 
"We feel confident that this is a change in the right direction for our team members," Baptist CEO Mark T. Faulkner told the News Journal. "As health care providers, we need to provide an environment that supports and encourages health and wellness to improve the quality of life in our community."
 
Sacred Heart CEO Susan Davis said health care providers have an obligation to "set the example for our community and demonstrate healthy living habits."
 
Both hospitals plan to include nicotine on pre-employment drug screening tests. They'll also require an affidavit affirming that the prospective employee does not use alcohol.
 
The businesses, including Gulf Power Co., already have a smoke-free policy in place.
 
New recruits at the Flagler County Sheriff's Office are no longer allowed to use tobacco products. Starting July 5, new employees must pass a tobacco screening or they won't be hired, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/18eUcGf ).
 
Sheriff Jim Manfre said the new policy is a way for employees to make "a major change in their lives."
 
In Volusia County, new sheriff's department employees are also banned from using tobacco. Existing employees can smoke, but "only where expressly permitted." Smoking in vehicles, agency-owned buildings and while dealing with the public is not allowed.
 
Florida and 20 other states allow employers to implement tobacco-free hiring.
 
And not everyone is on board with the idea.
 
Officials at Workrights Institute of Princeton, N.J., say such policies could lead to employers extending the ban to other behaviors that affect the cost of employer-provided health insurance, including alcohol or eating fast food.
 
"We're not seeing a strong national trend among employers across the board to adopt tobacco-free hiring policies, but we are seeing that trend among hospitals and casinos," said Institute President Lewis Maltby. "Don't ask me why."
 
But Maltby added that he sees more employers fining or adding a surcharge to health insurance policies if employees participate in activities or behaviors that are considered unhealthy.
 
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Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)tby. "Don't ask me why."
 
But Maltby added that he sees more employers fining or adding a surcharge to health insurance policies if employees participate in activities or behaviors that are considered unhealthy.
 
___
 
Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)