BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine says it is going to quit hiring anyone who uses tobacco starting next year.
The system announced Wednesday that its hospitals, clinics and other divisions will no longer hire anyone who smokes or uses smokeless tobacco products after July 1, 2013.
The policy does not apply to the broader college community of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
UAB Health System chief executive Will Ferniany says tobacco is a major cause of illness and death in Alabama, and the medical system wants to encourage people to stop using tobacco.
The policy does not apply to current employees of the university health system, but the agencies are increasing programs to help people quit using tobacco.
Medical systems in other states including Florida and Georgia have instituted similar policies.