U-Haul decides to stop hiring nicotine users

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/03/u-haul-decides-to-stop-hiring.html


As a non-smoker…

No. They say it doesn’t apply to current employees, but you know they’ll be pressured. This is the kind of policy that leads to people hiding their issues instead of maybe getting help to quit.

Another reason to decouple healthcare from employment. One less angle for employer abuse.


I don’t like this at all. I can’t see how it is possibly legal to discriminate against what workers do, legally, off-hours.


It has been for ages. Only the specific drug they’re going after is new.


It’s still legal to fire someone over their sexual orienatation or gender identity in the US.


I get the arguments being made here and in the source article. Maybe instead of a corporation illegalizing another drug, how about instead just having the new hire submit to a plan to stop smoking? Then apply that to all existing employees too? I mean, when asked, every smoker I’ve encountered expressed a desire to quit.

Gotta say, though, tobacco/nicotine has to be one of the stupidest habits to get into. It doesn’t give you a buzz (after the third time using it), it’s super highly addictive, it’s super cancerous, it usually has all sorts of harmful chemicals in it that you’re accepting into your body in very intimate ways (via lungs or skin tissue), smoking it makes you stink, it’s expensive, and on and on. Sorry to all the users on this board, but I just had to say it.


Because for those committed to maximum FREEDOM, employers should be free to hire and hire whoever they want and any attempt to interfere in that decision is fascism and/or communism or, sometimes, somehow, both at the same time.

Unless it’s a white male being fired for a misogynistic rant backed up with bogus pseudo-science. In such cases, it is the responsibility of all right-thinking Americans to rise up and loudly protest the firing because free speech.


Yep, or their politics or their favorite color or any (or no) reason at all. I’m not sure where the idea that you can’t fire someone for what they do off the job comes from, when clearly that’s exactly the kind of reason that’s not covered by the law.


Our experiences are very different. Most of the people I know who smoke & I know well enough to discuss that topic don’t want to quit. The closest I know to someone who does smoke & has told me they “want to quit” is someone who use to smoke, and now vapes, and vapes extremely low nicotine/zero nicotine on alternate days. They don’t plan on stopping vaping when they hit “all zero all the time”, then again last we spoke was about six months ago, so maybe they changed their mind about that.

(I agree on stupid habit…)


I see this a bit differently. I was a supervisor of Nurses back in the 70s and when the hospital announced that nurses could no longer smoke at the nurses station there was an uproar and everybody insisted they couldn’t do that. But they did. And a small number of nurses quite altogether. But staff could smoke in the cafeteria and individual offices. About a year later they announced that you could no longer smoke in the cafeteria or in your office but they set aside a room for the smokers. Again, an uproar and insisting they could not do this but they did it. And again, a number of staff quit smoking.
Then about another year later we were told that you had to go outside to smoke. Again, an uproar, but they did it, and again a number of staff quit.
Then about another year later, you had to smoke 50 feet from the door – outrage, but they did it and more people quit smoking.

Each time they said it couldn’t be done, or the staff had rights or whatever, they did it and lots of people quit smoking.

The outrage on this announcement is just more of the same. Overdue IMHO.


Semiconductor companies, pharmaceutical companies, and for that matter many hospitals have a smoke-free campus policy based on the fact that smokers shed traces of their consumed products from both clothing and breath which can either ruin product in process or endanger patients’ health.
This is regardless of State law, since it’s based on “person cannot safely enter areas that are required by their job.”

I suspect U-Haul doesn’t fit that both for the grandfathering and the broad application to new hires – but as a general statement “I can’t see how …” above is not valid.


False equivalence. They weren’t denied employment. They were simply told they couldn’t do it on company time.

If this was alcohol instead of cigarettes, would you be comfortable with it? The idea that if you enjoy the occasional beer on the weekends, you’re unemployable?

U-haul isn’t saying “You can’t smoke on company property or on the job.” They are saying “You can’t smoke, ever.”

Just because companies can fire you any reason they want and/or discriminate on any grounds they choose doesn’t make it right or NBD. If you don’t want your boss having control over your private life, then you shouldn’t be okay with this.


Before the state banned all smoking in or outside of the hospital there was a smoking room. Once a year a team came in a pressure washed the walls. The “soup” of residue that puddled up was the most vile looking mess I ever saw. The idea that people paid good money to coat their lungs with that crap was just amazing. That stuff would puke a buzzard off a gut wagon.


Welcome to Your Corporate Burka. No smoking is allowed in Your Corporate Burka. Please refrain from alcohol while wearing Your Corporate Burka. No personal phone calls may be made while in Your Corporate Burka.

And remember to never remove Your Corporate Burka!


Increasing “workplace wellness” by making up another dumb rule to exclude people from work. I assume the corporate drones who thought this out are mightily proud of themselves.

will no longer hire people who smoke or vape nicotine (or use it some other way)

What about chewing gum or patches? That is so none of their fucking business. And what are the wellness fascists going to do when they have eradicated nicotine use? I guess the coffee drinkers are next. After all hot fluids are hazardous and needing an extra restroom break is basically stealing from the stockholders.


Well of course they aren’t equivalent. That’s the nature of comparisons. But they were and are restrictions and each time restrictions were added the cry went out it couldn’t be done, it was unfair etc etc. But each time it happened. And each time it happened more people quit smoking.

As for firing people for what they do in their private lives they’ve been doing that for centuries. And as for smoking, smoking employees would raise the health care costs for all employees.

Again, making comparisons is by definition not equivalent. If they were equivalent they wouldn’t be comparisons. They’d be the same thing.

yeah. it’s good we’re seeing more of this. there’s definitely a lot of things people have done over the years - war, bigotry, murder - that are really worth continuing.

what do people even care about what happens to other people. it doesn’t affect me anyway.

correlation isn’t causation. stopping kids from smoking and acknowledging that smoking causes cancer are probably stronger reasons than workplace smoking restrictions. the point of those restrictions isn’t punishment, or cessation - it’s to stop the affects of second hand smoke. ( which is a fair goal )

right now we’re seeing an uptick in nicotine use because of marketing vaping to kids. that’s the battle worth fighting, not invading the personal lives of workers


The fact that cooking 4 sausages on an open grill causes more benzo-pyrene inhalation than sitting in a 10ft cubed box with a smoker for 3 months of 24/7 smoking shouldn’t be used to reflect on the idea that anti-smoking campaigns are a hypocritical witch hunt to the max…


Bill Hicks lampooned smokers mercilessly, but I don’t think he was the type who would get behind denying people employment over what they inhaled off work.

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I’m having a real hard time getting behind the first sentence excerpted from the article:

The issue with this approach is that it positions personal responsibility as a solution to problems that have little to do with individual choice.

If the decision to take up smoking isn’t an individual choice, then what is it?

Codifying wellbeing into a competition with cash prizes—let alone using “wellness” as a criteria for hiring in the first place—posits that every worker can and should be striving for a particular set of (employer-determined) physical and mental goals that they could all reach if they just tried.

I see… We’re talking about people who have yet to reach nonsmoking status. Born smokers, who have been striving to quit since the moment they exited the womb.

Yes, I’m sure there’s a problem with the way Xeni contextualized the excerpt (or failed to).