Starting Feb. 1, 2012, Geisinger will no longer hire applicants who use tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing or smokeless tobacco; this affects any applicants receiving offer letters as of that date. Geisinger is joining dozens of hospitals and medical organizations across the country that are adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants, saying they want to encourage healthier living, decrease absenteeism and reduce health care costs. Non-nicotine hiring policies are legal in 20 states including Pennsylvania. During the hiring process, all applicants ? including those seeking full-and part-time positions, flex, volunteers, and students enrolled in Geisinger-based schools ? will be tested for nicotine as part of the routine drug screening. Locums and travelers will be tested by their agencies prior to starting work with Geisinger. The test will screen for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches/gum, cigars, etc. The test only detects active nicotine users, not those exposed to secondhand smoke. Applicants who test positive for nicotine use will be welcome to re-apply in six months provided they are nicotine free at that time. Current employees are not affected by this new policy, but are encouraged to take advantage of the tobacco cessation programs offered through the Employee Wellness program. Thoughts?