Amendment Introduced in WV State Senate to Allow Hospitals to Test for Tobacco


 An amendment introduced in the West Virginia State Senate may allow certain employers to fire or not hire tobacco users. The change to Senate Bill 400 was introduced this week by Senator Ryan Ferns.

Senate Bill 400 says it is unlawful for any an employer to refuse to hire any individual or to discharge any employee for using tobacco on their own time but there could be two exceptions.

One of them is health care facilities like hospitals that provide treatment to patients including patients with life threatening illnesses caused by tobacco.

Senator Ferns says it’s the healthcare workers jobs to provide a good example for the patients they’re caring for.

“It’s important for the leaders in health care to be out in front of this issue and try to eliminate it whenever possible,” said Ferns. “It’ll be on an individual hospital by hospital basis. They can make that determination if they feel like that’s a step that they want to take and send that message to their community, it gives them the option to do that.”

The other exception for Senate Bill 400 would be if someone works an employer which primary purpose or objective discourages the use of tobacco like the Truth campaign.

The amended Senate Bill 400 was introduced by Ferns on Tuesday first to the Committee on Health and Human Resources. It still has to pass through the State Senate then the House of Delegates.

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