Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) in Annapolis, Maryland revised its hiring policy this month to exclude any type of nicotine users from being hired. Beginning July, 1, 2015, AAMC will stop hiring nicotine users, including e-cigarette users. However, any current employees that smoke or use nicotine products will be able to keep their positions. The revised policy prohibits all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to be used on any of their medical campuses across the US. This new policy states there will be “no areas designated for smoking or other tobacco use. The policy applies to all employees, physicians, patients, contract staff, vendors, volunteers, students, and visitors at all AAMC facilities”.
Dr. John Martin believes the change to AAMC’s hiring policy is due to health professionals being “role models for good health” and should “practice what they preach”. Similarly, Dr. Stephen Cattaneo feels, “we are not only dedicated to the preservation of health and prevention of disease, but we also want to provide a safe and healthy work environment and promote the health and well-being of our employees, visitors and patients”. Although this new policy may provide some comfort for nonsmokers wishing to avoid secondhand smoke, it blatantly discriminates against e-cigarette users. E-cigarettes are not tobacco, so they shouldn’t be part of the “tobacco-free movement”, plus they don’t emit secondhand smoke or toxins like tobacco cigarettes do. So why does AAMC feel so threatened by e-cigarettes that they felt the need to completely ban them, other than the fact it might make someone appear to be smoking?