Nicotine Testing for Employment

NicotineTesting for Employment

Smoking has been found out to be a risk factor for many healthproblems in the world. In the United States alone, smoking attributesto more than 480,000 deaths annually[ CITATION CDC16 l 1033 ].Let usconsider the main causes of mortality like cancer, diabetes,hypertension, heart failure and liver disease. It does notnecessarily mean that the smoker is the only individual affected bythe content of the smoke. Studies have shown that passive smokers areat an increased risk of suffering similar consequences as the activesmokers. It is for such a reason that states have come up withsmoking zones as a way of protecting the innocent individuals who donot smoke (Qaseem). As a way of reducing the effects of smoking atthe workplace, some business organizations insist on nicotine testingbefore hiring of individuals. This may sound rude, but I am againstsmoking as it adds no value to the human race. The adverse effectsare becoming too much to contain, and the only solution is to come upwith measures to force the addicts to stop this behavior.

How legal,however, is it to test individuals for nicotine before employingthem? The most common question that I like asking my friends whosmoke is when they want to quit the habit. My concern is never meantto be judgmental, but it is a big concern as I am left wondering whatthe individuals would be doing during their shifts. Shifts can be aslong as ten to twelve hours as some companies allow for overtime. Itis quite straightforward that any company that entirely hiresnon-smokers does not expect the employees to smoke during work hours.It means that individuals who smoke must restrain from the habitsince if even small levels are detected in their blood, they arelikely to face the exit. According to Liu, introducing the idea ofnicotine screening is a great initiative towards anti-nicotinecampaigns[ CITATION Liu14 l 1033 ].

WhyNicotine Testing?

Smoking has beena concern to healthcare for quite some time now. When healthcareprofessionals realized that the habit was becoming rampant and out ofcontrol, policies were adopted as a means of prohibiting the use ofproducts that are rich in the addictive substance, nicotine. It wasnot meant to restrict employees to smoke during work hours, but alsoto make them cease the habit completely as long as they desired toremain to be employees of a particular company. We do not expectindividuals who are less healthy to be working in our organizations(Qaseem). There are high chances of such individuals developinghealth complications that may make them miss work for several days orforever once they die. The campaign by insurance companies and theirinitiative of charging higher premiums on smokers has also gone along way in bolstering the solidarity in the fight against the use ofnicotine.

How does it feelwhen you make one suffer the consequences of your actions? Eventhough there are other problems in the society like obesity,cigarette smoking should be addressed as it is the greatestcontributing factor. Nicotine screening during employment and whenone is still working may seem to be invading the privacy ofindividuals, but I think it is the right direction to go. Some maysee it as a challenge trying to screen someone who has already beenhired. Criticism will never change the right action into being wrong.Individuals will get afraid to lose their jobs and will restrain fromsmoking. By so doing, their health will be in check, and much oftheir incomes will be spent on more productive investments. Accordingto the CDC, more than half of the states in America have the right totest applicants before employing them and can deny them opportunitiesif they test positive for nicotine[ CITATION CDC16 l 1033 ].

There is noreason as to why employees should be screened for this addictivesubstance. There are job opportunities that are high risk to theclients, nursing for instance. A nurse who smokes will be a riskfactor and a trigger to the patients who are asthmatic and allergicto dust[ CITATION CDC16 l 1033 ]. Why should such individuals beallowed to smoke and report to work? It is either they quit thesmoking or quit their jobs. One has to choose life and be concernedabout the welfare of others.

SpecificSpecimens for Screening

There arespecific specimens when used to screen for nicotine levels can givefalse impressions. Blood and urine are excellent specimens whenscreening for an immediate consumption of the substance. It has beenfound out from scientific studies that nicotine stays in thebloodstream for up to three days after it has been absorbed[ CITATION Voi12 l 1033 ].It takes relatively longer, four days, to be cleared from the urineof an individual. While the two samples are important in thescreening process, it is pertinent to come up with measures to detectthe long-term use of nicotine.

The bestapproach is the use of hair to detect any nicotine traces. It isinteresting, as studies show, that nicotine can be traced in the hairsmokers for up to four months after the ingestion. It is one of thebest approaches that can be used to eradicate the use of cigarettesand other related substances with nicotine. Firms should come up withsuch strict measures. The CDC noted that with blood and urine,smokers are clever as they resolve to drink large volumes of water asa way of quickening the elimination process of nicotine[ CITATION CDC16 l 1033 ].

TheNicotine-Free Hiring Policy

We should alwayslearn to appreciate when something positive is done. It is difficultto quote anything regarding the nicotine-free hiring policy withoutmentioning the Carroll Hospital, Maryland. It is one of the firstinstitutions to implement the policy of screening potential employeesbefore their absorption. All the campuses of this hospital weredeclared to be smoking-free areas since the year 1998 (Qaseem). It isargued by the policy critics that there are chances that institutionsmiss out on talented employees as a majority of them will shy awayfrom applying for the jobs.

The healthcareshould set the pace in dealing with the adverse and widespreadeffects of cigarette smoking. The major concern is the rise in thenumber of preventable conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Therole of healthcare facilities is to educate, prevent and treatpatients. As part of the prevention strategy, healthcare providersshould be role models in the move against the use of nicotine andother related substances[ CITATION Liu14 l 1033 ].


It is saddeningthat the state of Carolina is against the mandatory nicotine andtobacco screening of employees. They defend their actions by statingthat it is a way of protecting the employees. But, honestly speaking,this should not be the way to go. The government is expected to be onthe frontline in the fight against the use of tobacco and its relatedproducts. They term the smoking habit as an activity that is takingplace outside the places of work of the employees. They forget thatthere are innocent individuals who get affected by the smoke outsidethe places of work[ CITATION Voi12 l 1033 ]. There is no genuinereason as to why the screening activity should be prohibited.


The use ofnicotine may not affect the performance of an employee, but thisshould not be the reason as to why the test should not be carriedout[ CITATION DCE16 l 1033 ]. For us to ensure that we have asmoking –free environment, we should join hands and discourage thehabit by all means. It all starts with one individual. Understandingthe adverse effects of smoking should set the basis for the cessationof this habit. Smoking tobacco has been found to be the main risk andpredisposing factor to some preventable conditions as hypertension,diabetes, asthma and congestive cardiac failure. Women who smokeduring their pregnancy are at a high risk of miscarriage or givingbirth to underweight infants.

There are enoughreasons as to why organizations should undertake nicotine screeningbefore employing individuals. The healthcare sector is the mostsensitive area, and the example of the Carroll Hospital should beadopted. There is no need for some states to prohibit the mandatoryscreening of nicotine. The use of blood and urine as samples shouldbe discouraged and the use of hair adopted. It is always pertinent togo ahead of the rest as a means of coming up with solutions todifficult situations. The adverse effects are becoming too much tocontain, and the only solution is to come up with measures to forcethe addicts to stop this behavior[ CITATION Voi12 l 1033 ]. Thecampaign against the use of tobacco should be adopted globally, andfirms are advised to adopt the screening process.


CDC. Current cigarette smoking among adults in the United States. 14 March 2016. Web. 27 October 2016.

DC, Edward Group &amp DACBN. How alcohol affects the gut Microbiome. Cleansing &amp Detox Articles. Dr. Group`s Natural Health &amp Organic Living Blog. 9 August 2016. Web. 27 October 2016.

Liu, R. An Assessment of Health Risks and Mortality from Exposure to Secondhand Smoke in Chinese Restaurants and Bars. 9 January 2014. Web. 22 October 2016.

Qaseem, A. &quotDiagnosis and Management of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Clinical Practice Guideline.&quot Annals of internal medicine (2011): 179-191. Web.

Voigt, K. &quotEthical Concerns in Tobacco Control Nonsmoker and Non-nicotine Hiring Policies.&quot The Implications of Employment Restrictions for Tobacco Control (2012): 102-111. Web.