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Tobacco-Free Hiring

Gold Standard  Employer: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Tobacco-Free Hiring

Lung cancer is the No.1 cause of cancer deaths worldwide, claiming 437 lives in the U.S. alone every day.  When MD Anderson launched its Lung Cancer Moon Shot in 2012, it initiated several new programs including the EndTobacco Program.  EndTobacco is a set of strategic and tactical recommendations to reduce the tobacco burden at the institutional, state and national/international levels.  MD Anderson’s first EndTobacco step was an internal change to implement a tobacco-free hiring policy.  By implementing tobacco-free hiring, MD Anderson reinforced its efforts to provide a healthy workplace for faculty and staff and a more comfortable and wellness focused environment for patients and visitors.

Effective January 1, 2015, all candidates (including rehires) are required to pass a urine test for cotinine. Unique to MD Anderson, candidates who test positive for nicotine will be contacted, and if they are on cessation treatment the sample will be retested specifically for the presence of an alkaloid found in tobacco (anabasine).  This standard was determined based on discussions with other employers who administer these tests, and MD Anderson’s philosophy of supporting pharmacotherapy for tobacco cessation. Candidates who test positive have their offers rescinded, but are offered free cessation treatment and therapy at MD Anderson and allowed to reapply in 6 months.