ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In an effort to create a healthier environment for both patients and workers, Anne Arundel Medical Center says it is no longer hiring smokers.

The new policy began July 1.

A spokesperson for the health system says they’re not telling people they can’t smoke, just that they won’t be hiring smokers.

“There is no federal law that protects smokers, so we are very confident that as the laws are today we have no problem being able to implement this,” says Julie McGovern, the medical center’s vice president of human resources.

However, people who smoke can reapply for positions at the hospital after six months and must have kicked the habit.

Dr. Steven Cattaneo, a medical director at the hospital, says it’s all about creating a healthier environment.

“It will help well being, the environment’s cleaner and it just sets the tone. It sets the message that’s very consistent with the mission, the values, the vision of the hospital,” Cattaneo says.

So far, two applicants have been turned away.

WNEW Annapolis Bureau Chief Karen Adams contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.

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