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Penn health system to stop hiring smokers in July

By 69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 21 2013 07:55:25 AM CST
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Top Five: American College of Physicians

PHILADELPHIA -

The University of Pennsylvania Health System says it plans to stop hiring smokers and tobacco users.

The policy starts in July at a system that includes the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Applicants must be tobacco free for six months and new employees caught lying about tobacco use may be fired.

Penn's system has 17,500 employees. Officials say they are following the lead of the Cleveland Clinic and others.

Penn's policy won't apply to current employees. Those who use tobacco pay a higher premium on their health care; last year, about 11 percent of employees who are part of the system's health insurance program identified themselves as tobacco users.

The policy also won't affect new hires working in New Jersey, where state law prohibits such restrictions.