Pennsylvania hospital to stop hiring smokers

Bethlehem, PA - (NBC) - A Pennsylvania hospital will soon stop hiring people who smoke.

St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, in Bethlehem plans to stop hiring smokers beginning May 1st. The hospital says it hopes to improve the health of its 7,000 employees and reduce health costs.

Beginning May 1, all prospective employees will be screened for nicotine and will be ineligible for a job if they test positive.

Anyone rejected may take the test again in six months. Current employees will not be affected.

Bob Zimmel, senior vice president of human resources, said the policy will be good for business as well as health, since it will reduce health insurance claims.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.