Centura Health says "no" to tobacco users

Centura Health says "no" to tobacco users

The Colorado hospital giant will no longer hire smokers

The Colorado Department of Labor gave us good news on the Friday before Thanksgiving.

It announced that unemployment in Colorado dropped to 4.3 percent in October. If that wasn’t enough, Colorado added 300 nonfarm payroll jobs for that time.

The last time Colorado’s unemployment was as low as 4.3 percent was March 2008, as the department of labor noted. October marks the 36th straight month of job growth, the report said.

More jobs were created for government (2,400) than private sector (2,100). Of those private sector jobs, the main areas we see growth is construction and manufacturing.

What matters is our state keeps adding jobs. That’s a great sign for the communities and cities. That’s an awesome sign for our economy. There are definitely aspects in 2015 that present some challenges.

But as long as people are employed, that makes things easier to deal with.


The other big news out of Colorado is that hospital giant Centura Health will stop hiring people who use tobacco.

Centura Health is one of the state’s largest health care systems, and it’s joining a national trend. If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, you will not be hired by Centura after Dec. 31.

The main reason for this action, and some are considering outright bans, is smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, illness and injury in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking is responsible for 443,000 premature deaths each year. Thus, the CDC estimates that smokes cost employers about $193 billion each year in increased health costs.

Of course, some feel this opens the Pandora’s Box of employers dictating what employees do when they’re not at work and it doesn’t affect their job performance. If employers ban smoking, what’s to say they won’t ban overweight or obese people? Those with high cholesterol? Blood glucose levels? Are too motivated to work out?

On Jan. 1 all applicants will be tested for tobacco use as part of the post-job screening. Anyone with a positive test will be eliminated from consideration. This ban includes nicotine patches and gums, unless the applicant has a verifiable prescription.

For those who might call for discrimination, these people aren’t fired for their choices. Companies screen for a variety of things—this is just another aspect of that.

How does this make you feel?

Is this going too far?