U-Haul International’s New Year resolution is to have healthier employees — and it could spell bad news for job seekers who like to smoke.
The truck and trailer rental company known for its identifiable orange and white design is implementing a nicotine-free hiring policy across 21 states in February.
This means U-Haul plans to stop interviewing and hiring anyone who is a nicotine user in the states where it is legal to do so. The policy will also apply to the company’s “Work From Home” program.
“We are deeply invested in the well-being of our Team Members,” said Jessica Lopez, U-Haul’s chief of staff in a statement. “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.”
It’s also cheaper.
Nicotine can be found in cigarettes, cigars and any other tobacco product, including most e-cigarettes and vaping products that contain the addictive and toxic chemical.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States, with smoking-related illnesses costing the country more than $300 billion a year, including $170 billion in direct medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Companies also pay almost $6,000 more a year for each employee who smokes compared to an employee who has never smoked cigarettes, according to a 2013 study conducted by Ohio State University.
U-Haul says it has more than 30,000 employees across the United States and Canada. The Phoenix-based company employs around 4,000 people in Arizona, according to azcentral.com
A U-Haul spokesman declined to tell the Miami Herald how many employees the company has in Florida and South Florida.
Besides Florida and Arizona, the policy will also be implemented in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
Employees hired prior to Feb. 1, 2020, will not be affected by the policy, according to the company’s website.
Those who apply on or after Feb. 1 at jobs.uhaul.com will see statements regarding the nicotine-free hiring policy on applications and will be questioned about nicotine use, U-Haul said.
Applicants who live in states where testing is allowed will also have to pass a nicotine screening to be considered.
The announcement comes a few weeks after the company broke ground on a 54,208-square-foot conference and fitness center at its Midtown campus in Arizona.
Those interested in learning how to quit smoking or how to help someone quit smoking can visit the American Lung Association’s help page at www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/
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