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Siegel: U-Haul’s new nicotine-free hiring policy misguided, discriminatory against vapers

U-Haul is putting the kibosh on hiring nicotine users which includes both smokers and vapers.  The moving and storage company announced on December 30 that its new nicotine-free hiring policy will take effect on February 1. 

Prospective job applicants in 21 states where companies are not penalized for refusing to hire nicotine users can expect to be questioned about their smoking and vaping habits during their application and interview processes.  U-Haul may even request that prospective employees take a nicotine screening test before being considered for a position. 

Current employees who smoke or vape nicotine will be grandfathered in under the new policy.  In a press release issued by the Phoenix-based company, U-Haul Chief of Staff Jessica Lopez claims that the new hiring rules are a demonstration of the company’s revised interest in promoting a “culture of wellness.”

“We are deeply invested in the well-being of our Team Members. 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.”

Lopez later adds, “If we take care for our Team Members, they will take care of our customers.”   In addition to the no nicotine hiring freeze, U-Haul management will also be offering smoking cessation assistance for current employees who want to quit smoking or vaping. 

Dr. Michael Siegel on U-Haul vaping ban

U-Haul will also be providing their employees with a more robust benefits package which includes financial reimbursements for gym memberships and personal trainers, healthier food sections in its vending machines, and access to information about improved dietary planning via an online portal.  The new benefits package focusing on employee mental and physical health is being labeled as the U-Haul “You Matter” program.

Not only does Lopez say that the new nicotine-free hiring policies will be good for the company’s over 30,000 employees across the United States and Canada, she admits that it will be financially beneficial for U-Haul, too.  If employees are using less nicotine, then the company will likely save money in insurance premiums and healthcare costs. 

When Dr. Michael Seigel discovered U-Haul’s new nicotine-free hiring policy, he was quick to respond on Twitter.  In a January 7 tweet, the world-class physician and researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health said, “U Vape? U-Don't-Haul: U-Haul announces misguided policy that discriminates against people who use nicotine, even if they are using it to quit smoking.”

Related Article:  AHA study is bogus; vaping is NOT as bad for the heart as smoking, says Siegel

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