Nicotine Free Employer

Nicotine Free Policy


Effective November 4th, 2013 West Texas Rehab Center will implement a nicotine-free new hire policy. The policy is an expansion of our current drug and alcohol use policy and applies to all forms of tobacco use. It will require all individuals who receive a job offer from WTRC to be screened for cotinine, a by-product of nicotine, as part of the regular drug screening process. The level of cotinine present in the body can determine whether an individual is a primary tobacco user or is being exposed to tobacco through other means, such as second-hand smoke. Under this policy, offers of employment will be rescinded for individuals who test positive for levels of cotinine. Applicants who fail the cotinine test may re-apply after 90 days.


This nicotine-free hiring policy reinforces our culture of prevention and wellness for employees, patients, and the community. This is our way of leading by example and serving as a community role model for good health behaviors.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking costs the United States more than $193 billion each year; $97 billion in lost productivity plus $96 billion in health care expenditures. Smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually in the U.S., about 443,000 deaths per year with an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths the result of secondhand smoke exposure.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is screening for tobacco/nicotine use legal?

Yes. Users of nicotine are not in a legally protected class. Non-nicotine hiring policies have been adopted by many facilities in a range of service fields.


How are applicants tested for nicotine?

Applicants will be tested after an offer of employment has been extended. The testing is part of the urine drug screen done at the time of the pre-employment physical. Nicotine test results are on a pass/fail basis.


If any applicant fails the screening for nicotine, can he/she reapply for employment?

At the pre-employment physical, a candidate is requested to sign a statement declaring they are nicotine free and can abide by a nicotine free work environment. If the presence of nicotine is detected in the candidate's system, the candidate may reapply in 90 days for available positions.


Why the focus on tobacco/nicotine?

West Texas Rehab Center is in the business of health and wellness and has a responsibility to its employees and the community to lead the charge in promoting a healthy lifestyle.


What could cause a positive nicotine result on the screening?

Any substance that contains nicotine will produce a positive result. In addition to cigarettes, this would include chewing tobacco, snuff, nicotine patch, nicotine gum, cigars, etc.


Does second hand smoke produce a positive result?

When testing for nicotine, the lab has built in levels that would take into account the possibility of second hand smoke. Therefore, a positive result will mean the individual who tested positive is a tobacco/nicotine user.


I am currently trying to quit, will I be hired?

Unfortunately no. The use of the patch or other cessation tools will generate a positive test and thus nullify any job offer.