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  1. #1
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    Las Vegas
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    Default Tobacco and pre-employment drug test.

    I have searched every place I can logically think of (even the forums here), but cannot find an answer to this question:

    "Will a pre-employment hair (drug) test be looking for illegal drugs only?"

    I am asking for this reason:

    I chew tobacco once in while (read: 1-3 times a month) when I play golf, and am concerned about being disqualified if my drug test comes back positive for nicotine.

    I'm going to be subjected to a drug test in the next few weeks/months, and am curious. I have ZERO problems never chewing again if it's a requirement for employment.

    I have searched everywhere possible for my Departments' guidelines on tobacco use, but simply can NOT find one line of fact. Anywhere!! If I called the HR department of the FD, or the City, would they have the answer?

    I also read the NFPA 1582, and all I can find is "6.22.1.1 Tobacco use shall be a Category A medical condition (where allowed by law)." But I don't totally understand what that means, exactly.

    I'm not looking for "quit using tobacco", or "stop chewing"...this I know, but I have read up on the hair tests, and understand that it can show months or even years' of 'history'. So my concerns are limited to nicotine showing up on my test, and how to handle it if it does.

    Thanks in advance for your help and insight.


  2. #2
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    Monroe WA
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    Default

    It really depends on the department. Im on a list that states you can not use tobacco of any kind. And I'm Also on a list where the Chief and all the firefighters I met chew tobacco. I am a tobacco user so if it is tested for you need to quit at least a month prior to your medical physical. Do a lot of cardio and sweat a ton and you will show up negative on your test. I had a buddy who chews a can every couple days do that and his showed up negative. The department he got hired at has a policy that you can not use tobacco but he said all the guys do it. So like i said it really depends on the department.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply, Cbar84....I contacted THREE different people concerned with the City/Department, and not one of them had an answer as to the tobacco use policy! (One of which was the Assistant to the Chief, who sent me back to the same person in HR who had no idea.)

    Is there a chance there is no policy on tobacco use? (would seem odd to me)

  4. #4
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    Default

    strange they cannot tell you if they have any kind of tobacco use policy, ene as simple as not in any city buildings

    we went to if you do use, you pay more money for health insurance, but they are not doing any testing, and it cost to test

    I don't think you have to worry, just may have to quit all together or only at work

    kind of like drinking

  5. #5
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    Oct 2003
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    north of San Francisco
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    Default

    If it wasnít listed as being banned on the job announcement and no one you talk to is aware of a tobacco ban, then donít worry about it. The departments that do have a ďNo tobaccoĒ policy make sure everyone is very aware of it.

    If we are hiring and have thousands of people in the process, the last thing we want is for people to make it to the end and be eliminated in background or the medical. It is expensive to test a large group of people, so they would have made sure all those testing would know about a ban like that.

    Get a copy of the job announcement, and if it doesnít say it there, then they canít expect you to know you should be free of tobacco.

    And stop chewing, it's gross. I just had to say it.
    Good Luck, Capt Rob
    www.myfireinterview.com

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Default

    As a Firefighter you will be exposed to carcinogens at much greater frequency, at much greater strengths, and over a longer period of time than the average person. You will have a greater than average chance of developing cancer. For accepting this risk, you are paid well, you have above average employment security, blanket health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits in the top 1% of all society.

    To lessen the risk of developing cancer in the Firefighters they insure (and thereby facing claims for health, disability and life insurance payouts) the insurance companies seek to eliminate all unnecessary carcinogens that these FFs are exposed to. Tobacco is a known carcinogen, and by using it you increase your chance of getting cancer. Agencies are trying to decrease their exposure to risk. Minimizing carcinogens in their FFs is one way to do so. Some agencies take it so seriously that they will take hair samples, and send them to nationally recognized laboratories where the hair will be analyzed to detect traces of tobacco (and other drugs). If you are one of the people that are adding carcinogens to your body, you increase the risks of the group and thereby cause higher premiums and greater payouts. You need to be eliminated from the candidate pool. Good bye.

    The City of Bellingham, Washington has used the hair sample method in the past. It can detect tobacco (smoked or chewed) for from three to six months after use.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. Prior to asking the question, my feelings were in line with what FFighterRob has said, but I wanted the opinions of others who are more familiar with the road I am on. I have re-read the job announcement I received, and there is no mention whatsoever of any type of tobacco policy.

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