U-Haul International to stop hiring smokers in 21 states

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FILE – In this June 14, 2006 file photo are U-Haul trucks sit on a dealer lot in Des Moines, Iowa. U-Haul has a New Year’s resolution: cut down on hiring people who smoke. The moving company said that it won’t hire nicotine users in the 21 states where it is legal to do so, saying that it wants to ensure a “healthier workforce.” The new policy will start Feb. 1, 2020. and won’t apply to those hired before then. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — U-Haul International has announced plans to stop interviewing and hiring nicotine users, including people who use e-cigarettes and vaping products.

The well-known truck and trailer rental company approved the nicotine-free policy set to go into effect Feb. 1 in more than 20 states where the company operates, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

Those states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

People hired before the policy goes into effect won’t be affected, company officials said.

U-Haul International employs around 4,000 people in Arizona, where the company is based, and 30,000 across the U.S. and Canada, officials said.

In each of the 21 states, it is legal not to hire people who use nicotine, company officials said. Employers in 17 states are also legally allowed to test for nicotine, officials said.

U-Haul International has not indicted if it would conduct tests, officials said.

The company expects the nicotine-free hiring policy would help create a more healthy corporate culture, officials said. The new policy will focus on the health of team members and employees, while also decreasing healthcare costs, company officials said.

Company executives encourage employees not to use nicotine by waiving a required wellness fee, officials said. The company doesn’t require tobacco users to pay a health care insurance premium, the Republic reported.

The company said it has made strides to encourage health and wellness including breaking ground on a new conference and fitness center in Arizona and implementing various employee fitness and wellness programs.

Some hospitals and other health businesses have implemented no-nicotine hiring policies, company officials said.

Alaska Airlines has had the policy since 1985 to address health-care costs and health consequences, officials said. In addition, the airline has expressed the difficulty of smoking on planes and in places surrounding airports, officials said.

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