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Health Highlights: Jan. 3, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U-Haul's New Hiring Policy in 21 States: No Smokers

U-Haul International says it will stop interviewing and hiring nicotine users, including people who either vape or smoke.

The policy is set to go into effect Feb. 1 in the 21 states where the truck and trailer rental company operates, the Arizona Republic reported on Wednesday. People who already work for U-Haul are not affected, the company said.

Twenty-one states currently allow employers to refuse hiring if a person uses nicotine, and in 17 states testing for nicotine prior to hiring is legal. U-Haul, which currently employs about 30,000 people nationwide, has said it is not planning to test prospective hires for nicotine, however.

"In our continued efforts to enhance our wellness program and decrease healthcare costs, we have become more aware of the medical side effects of using nicotine and tobacco products," Jessica Lopez, U-Haul's chief of staff, told the Republic. "Taking care of our team members is the primary focus and goal," she added, and "decreasing healthcare costs will be a bonus."

States included in the new hiring policy are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

U-Haul's new policy is a rare one for U.S. companies, but it is not the first: Alaska Airlines has had such a policy in place since 1985, the Republic noted.

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