ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Nicotine Testing Of Job Applicants On The Rise

Updated on May 23, 2015
All the education and skills in the world won't land you the job if you can't pass the nicotine test
All the education and skills in the world won't land you the job if you can't pass the nicotine test | Source

They're Serious About "No Smoking"

Recently I applied for a position at a local hospital. I was surprised when the human resources director informed me that I would be tested for the presence of nicotine in my system, in addition to the standard drug testing that is required. Although I wasn't worried about the outcome of the test, it made me really think about how this was getting a little too far into my personal business.

Thinking this one hospital was being too aggressive with their "no smoking" policy, I researched it and found that in the United States,this kind of testing is becoming the norm in the medical profession field and other professions as well, including some health insurance companies.

Reasons Behind the Tests

The following are the most prevailing reasons given for nicotine testing of job applicants, and why employment would be denied for a tobacco user:

Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Especially in medical settings, leading by example reinforces the message that healthier choices lead to less medical problems. Administrators say that by medical staff encouraging their patients not to smoke while doing it themselves is being hypocritical.

Reduce Insurance Costs

Premiums are higher for tobacco users and this increases the cost to the employer that pays for health insurance as an employee benefit.

Reduce Absenteeism

Sick days taken by an employee causes workload and production issues.Smoking can cause or make someone more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, resulting in extended time away from work.

Is It Fair? Is It Legal?

The above may be valid reasons, but if employers are using these reasons for denying an otherwise qualified individual, due to being "potentially unhealthy", couldn't eating too much junk food, drinking too much coffee or not properly managing your diabetes also fit the above three reasons given? Of course,to be denied employment for being overweight or having existing health problems is blatant discrimination. They are protected by government disability or civil rights laws such as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Some legal experts seem to agree that smoker's rights should also be protected against work related discrimination practices, simply because it comes down to the act of pre-determining someone's health based on a habit that occurs away from work.Therefore, a person's medical issues are protected by these laws.

Currently, 29 US states have laws that do not allow for tobacco testing of job applicants.

Impact of Second Hand Smoke

For the person who does not smoke, being exposed to second hand smoke can also be adversely affected by these anti-tobacco hiring policies. Second hand smoke can be enough to cause a positive result on nicotine tests, although at low or moderate levels. Interestingly, nicotine levels of passive smokers can sometimes show up in a urine test for 15-20 days according to some estimates.

Those that have quit smoking, using the help of nicotine patches or electronic cigarettes that use vaporized nicotine, will show positive results as well. It is unfortunate to be denied employment for the one who lives with a smoker or for one making an effort to stop smoking.

Testing is usually done with a urine test and sometimes a blood test or a saliva test. Nicotine is a natural ingredient of tobacco found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff. Once the nicotine enters the body, it can show up in urine, blood, saliva or hair. Depending on the amount and frequency of tobacco use, the levels of nicotine and the length of time it remains in the body will vary.

Nervous About Your Chances Of Passing A Test?

If you recently stopped smoking, or if you are affected by second hand smoke at home, this convenient home test kit can give you an idea of whether or not you would pass the official test given as part of a job application. It can give you peace of mind if you are nervous about results that could eliminate you from consideration for a job.

Do You Agree?

Do you agree with the use of nicotine testing in the workplace?

See results

Something To Ponder

Because of all the research and statistics, no one can deny that smoking is unhealthy. It can be viewed as a positive that employers are encouraging people to give up such a destructive habit.It can also be viewed as infringing on a person's right to choose what they do at home.

The controversy is heaviest among smokers and non-smokers, each taking sides on the issue. But it should not be just a matter of whether it is right or wrong based on a smoker/non-smoker point of view. It should concern anyone with a neutral stance because at any given time they may find themselves facing a new hiring practice that excludes them from getting they job they want.

Comments welcome!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I recently quit dipping. It is one of the hardest things I've ever done.

      That said, the idea that nicotine testing would be done is highly offensive to me. You are supposed to have the right to make choices. Whether or not I do or don't use tobacco is up to me, not something I am to be bullied into by Big Brother.

      Enlightening hub.

    • Bonsat74 profile image


      3 years ago from London

      Smoking is a persons choice, if smoking is that bad then don't sell them simples


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)