DETROIT -

The Detroit Medical Center is expected to begin screening job applicants for nicotine.
The health care system had set Sunday as the start date for the new policy and said the screening applies to job seekers at all its facilities.

Nicotine is the principal active ingredient in tobacco.

The policy doesn't cover current employees. The system said it is encouraging workers who do smoke to quit and will offer programs to help them do so.

Medical center personnel chief Deloris Hunt has said the hospital chain's work sites have been smoke-free since 2007 and that the nicotine screening is another step toward improved health policies.

The screening also conforms to the policy in place at the medical center's parent company, Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems Inc.