Excerpted from USA Today by Jazmin Goodwin

U-Haul is taking a stand on smokers and nicotine users.

The moving and storage rental company announced that, effective Feb. 1 in 21 states, it will no longer hire nicotine users. Employees hired before that date will be unaffected by the new policy.

“We are deeply invested in the well-being of our Team Members,” Jessica Lopez, U-Haul chief of staff, said in a news release. “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.”

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U-Haul, headquartered in Phoenix, employs more than 30,000 staffers across the USA and Canada. There are 4,000 in Arizona.

The nicotine-free policy will be enacted in states that lawfully allow the decline of nicotine users. Along with Arizona, those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

“Individuals seeking U-Haul jobs in the aforementioned 21 states will see statements regarding the nicotine-free hiring policy on applications, and will be questioned about nicotine use,” the company said. “In states where testing is allowed, applicants must consent to submit to nicotine screening in the future to be considered.”

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have “smoker protection laws” that prevent employers from discriminating against employees for using tobacco products, according to the American Lung Association.

U-Haul has a wellness program that includes nicotine cessation assistance for members, along with nutrition and fitness features.

The legal age to purchase tobacco products increased from 18 to 21 after a bill was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law Dec. 20.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the USA, accounting for more than
480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.