A portion of the U-Haul home page.
A portion of the U-Haul home page.

PHOENIX - A well-known truck and trailer rental company has announced plans to stop interviewing and hiring nicotine users, including people who use e-cigarettes and vaping products. 

U-Haul International approved the nicotine-free policy set to go into effect February 1 in 21 states where the company operates, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday. 

Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. 

People hired before the policy goes into effect won't be affected, company officials said. 

U-Haul International employs around 4,000 people in Arizona, where the company is based, and 30,000 across the U.S. and Canada, officials said. 

In each of the 21 states, it is legal not to hire people who use nicotine, company officials said.  

Nicotine testing

Employers in 17 states are also legally allowed to test for nicotine, officials said. U-Haul International has not indicated whether it would conduct tests, officials said. 

The company expects the nicotine-free hiring policy to help create a more healthful corporate culture, officials said. The new policy will focus on the health of team members and employees, while also decreasing health care costs, company officials said. 

Company executives encourage employees not to use nicotine by waiving a required wellness fee, officials said. The company doesn't require tobacco users to pay a health care insurance premium, the Republic reported. 

The company said it has made strides to encourage better health and wellness, including breaking ground on a new conference and fitness center in Arizona and implementing various employee fitness and wellness programs. 

Some hospitals and other health businesses have implemented no-nicotine hiring policies, company officials said. Alaska Airlines has had the policy since 1985 to address health care costs and health consequences, officials said.