Mo. hospital chain: Smoking workers not wanted

A Springfield hospital chain will require potential employees to go through a nicotine screening before being hired.

If you smoke, don't bother applying to Springfield-based hospital chain CoxHealth.

CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards says all potential employees will soon have to pass a nicotine screening before being hired. The Springfield News-Leader reports that the policy will take effect Nov. 21.

Currently, about 20 percent of CoxHealth employees smoke. Edwards says the company wants its employees to be "role models" and to lead the community.

He says people who fail the test will be offered a chance to enroll in free tobacco cessation classes. They'll also be encouraged to reapply after going without tobacco for 90 days.

New hires who take up smoking will put their jobs at risk. But the company hasn't determined how that will be monitored.