New policy bans smoking for new Public Health hires - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

New policy bans smoking for new Public Health hires

Posted: Updated:

by Krystal Paco

Guam - One person on Guam dies every day as a result of smoking-related diseases. That, along with $54 million a year, local taxpayers fork out for tobacco-related healthcare has led the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services to implement a new policy for all new hires.

Effective immediately, all new hires at the agency must be non-smokers.

Director Jim Gillan says this may be new for Guam, but it's popular among hospitals and other health related workplaces throughout the nation. "Why make that a policy for hiring in Public Health? I think we have to be the ones that start this. If we're going to talk to people about taking care of themselves and being healthy if this is what we can call a preventable battle. we can actually win this we can win this one just by not having people not smoke," he said.

And although leading by example is the mantra at Public Health, Department of Administration acting personnel services administrator Shane Ngata says it's not going to be easy to implement as DOA only administers a merit system based on education and experience when looking at applicants. "We've never seen it in GovGuam not to say it's a bad thing. I understand the intent of Public Health and where they're trying to go, and so it's just a little bit difficult to administer on our end of the house," he said.

"We don't look at factors like smoking, drinking, lifestyle type habits that they have as part of the merit system," he said.

But what if the most qualified applicant is a smoker and how to enforce such a policy? Gillan says much like employers require a police and court clearance, applicants must submit nicotine test results. "If you want to smoke, that's your right. Absolutely. But I don't have to hire you," he said.

Gillan welcomes anyone who challenges his agency's new policy as there are non-smoking advocates around the island ready to support him, saying, "Bring it on. We'll test it."

For Public Health employees that already smoke, Gillan says they've been grandfathered in, but are highly encouraged to quit as there are support services, including a 1-800 quitline, also available to the public.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Eco-friendly shopping bag bill authored by youth leaders

    Eco-friendly shopping bag bill authored by youth leaders

    A bill that would ban the sale and distribution of fossil fuel-based shopping bags has been passed over by the Guam Youth Congress to the Legislature. The bill's sponsor, Youth Speaker Javan Santos states, "The youth support minimizing waste and protecting our ocean and island, and this bill seeks to do that for the youth to inherit a cleaner Guam." The committee on rules will refer the measure to a legislative committee.More >>
    A bill that would ban the sale and distribution of fossil fuel-based shopping bags has been passed over by the Guam Youth Congress to the Legislature. The bill's sponsor, Youth Speaker Javan Santos states, "The youth support minimizing waste and protecting our ocean and island, and this bill seeks to do that for the youth to inherit a cleaner Guam." The committee on rules will refer the measure to a legislative committee.More >>
  • Senators ensuring schools have active shooter protocol

    Senators ensuring schools have active shooter protocol

    Double- and even triple-checking that they have active shooter standard operating procedures and drills in place, Senators Joe San Agustin and Wil Castro issued a notice to schools across the island. The joint effort comes days after a deadly shooting at a high school in South Florida. 17 people died in that shootout. Guam police also stand ready to assist schools in creating a plan for their campus. To set that up, call GPD's Captain Paul Tayama at 475-8508/9.More >>
    Double- and even triple-checking that they have active shooter standard operating procedures and drills in place, Senators Joe San Agustin and Wil Castro issued a notice to schools across the island. The joint effort comes days after a deadly shooting at a high school in South Florida. 17 people died in that shootout. Guam police also stand ready to assist schools in creating a plan for their campus. To set that up, call GPD's Captain Paul Tayama at 475-8508/9.More >>
  • Kempo Deitas accused of beating, raping woman

    Kempo Deitas accused of beating, raping woman

    He was apparently upset that she was in a new relationship. Now a 34 year old man is being accused of brutally attacking and raping a woman multiple times for several hours before the victim was finally able to get away. Kempo Deitas is charged with kidnapping, first, second, and third degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree robbery, terrorizing, and aggravated assault with a special allegation of possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of felony. It all started on Val...More >>
    He was apparently upset that she was in a new relationship. Now a 34 year old man is being accused of brutally attacking and raping a woman multiple times for several hours before the victim was finally able to get away. Kempo Deitas is charged with kidnapping, first, second, and third degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree robbery, terrorizing, and aggravated assault with a special allegation of possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of felony. It all started on Val...More >>
Powered by Frankly