Updated:ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) (AP)ong> - A central Pennsylvania hospital system is banning tobacco, and says it won't hire tobacco users, starting Jan. 1.
The Altoona Regional Health System rules will require applicants to be screened for nicotine. Those who fail can reapply after 90 days.
Despite the ban, hospital officials say they won't require new workers to abstain from tobacco once they're hired, though it will be encouraged.
People who already work for the hospital can use tobacco when they're not at work, but will also be offered programs to help them quit using tobacco.
The Altoona Mirror reports Friday that the ban extends to vehicles parked in hospital lots and means workers who wish to take smoke breaks will have to clock out and leave the hospital property to do so.
Visitors could be kicked off the property for repeated violations.
Information from the Altoona Mirror (http://www.altoonamirror.com)