DOT warns against anti-smoking drug Chantix

On June 5, the U.S. Department of Transportation warned the Federal Railroad Administration about the possible dangers of rail workers in safety sensitive positions using an anti-smoking drug known as Chantix.

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned the use of Chantix by pilots and air traffic controllers, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has urged medical examiners not to certify a commercial driver who uses this drug.

In a memo from the DOT's Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance to the FRA's Office of Safety, the DOT warned that the drug may be linked to more than 100 accidents, as well as seizures, dizziness, heart irregularity, heart attacks, loss of consciousness, vision problems and diabetes.

A complete copy of the study is available at:

Accordingly, the DOT has asked BLET to disseminate the following statement to its membership:

"The U.S. Department of Transportation reminds all transportation industries of the potential threat to public safety caused by the use of the anti-smoking drug Chantix. A recent independent study spoke of possible links to seizures, dizziness, heart irregularity, loss of consciousness, vision problems, diabetes, and more than 100 accidents. As a result, we strongly urge all transportation industry employers to include in their employee training materials appropriate information to address this issue. We also encourage employers to reiterate with their employees the need to report use of such medications when required by applicable DOT regulations or by company policies."

BLET members are urged to be aware of the side effects of this medication and should make sure their doctors are aware of the safety-critical nature of their work if prescribed Chantix.

The BLET National Division is asking its General Chairmen and State Legislative Board Chairmen to make the following memo available to their membership:


© 2008 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen