- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A group of professors say a policy blocking health systems from hiring smokers may have a disproportionate impact on certain employees.

Al.com reported Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1sRlk6x) that a report written in part by UAB professors in the Journal of the Association of Medical Colleges says bans at health facilities could impact lower skilled and lower-paid workers, especially at urban facilities. They say lower income people and those without college degrees make up a large share of the adult smoking population.

University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital stopped hiring smokers last year and includes a nicotine test as part of employment screening.

UAB Health System CEO, William Ferniany, says the hospital hires as many underprivileged people as before. Ferniany says less than 20 out of 1,000 applicants have failed the nicotine test.

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