(CNN/Gray News) - U-Haul said it soon would not hire tobacco users in many of its locations, as part of an effort of “promoting and empowering a healthy workforce.”
The company will begin screening applicants Feb. 1 in 21 states where employers are allowed to decline employment to someone based on nicotine usage, it stated in a news release. Current employees are not affected.
“We are deeply invested in the well-being of our team members,” said Jessica Lopez, U-Haul’s chief of staff. “Nicotine products are addictive and pose a variety of serious health risks. This policy is a responsible step in fostering a culture of wellness at U-Haul, with the goal of helping our team members on their health journey.”
Individuals seeking jobs will see statements regarding the nicotine-free hiring policy on applications and will be questioned about nicotine use. In states where testing is allowed, applicants must consent to a nicotine screening to be considered.
Current employees also can take advantage of a wellness program that offers nicotine cessation assistance.
The states where the new policy will go into effect are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
A nicotine-free policy, as opposed to a tobacco-free policy, would deny employment to anyone using nicotine gum, lozenges, patches or vaping, as well as people who smoke and chew tobacco.
U-Haul employs more than 30,000 people in the U.S. and Canada.