Penn health system to stop hiring smokers in July - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Penn health system to stop hiring smokers in July

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - 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% 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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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