The U-Haul announcement does not have enough clarity to warrant full scrutiny, said Lynn Kozlowski, professor of community health and health behavior at the University of Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
It’s important to make distinctions between the most harmful of nicotine-laced products, such as cigarettes and cigars, and items such as smokeless tobacco and vaped nicotine products that pose a lower risk to bystanders, Kozlowski recently argued in a paper.
The latter are unlikely to contaminate workplaces or drastically affect work performance, which makes the company appear to be taking a moral stance rather than a health one, he said.
“I bet if U-Haul were to look at their corporate office, they have a coffeepot going most of the time and people addicted to caffeine,” he said, questioning the extent to which companies should care about addictions without being intrusive.
Money and workplace productivity are a concern for companies, said Kevin Schroth, associate professor of health, tobacco control policy and law for the Rutgers School of Public Health.
There’s already data that proves that nonsmokers take fewer breaks and request fewer sick days than their smoking counterparts, he said.
The only downside to U-Haul’s policy is that there is an element of unfairness to people who have been victimized by the tobacco industry, which usually happens at very early ages, Schroth said.
“I don’t have a problem with government policies or employer-based policies that are designed to discourage people to stop using deadly products,” he said.
The Washington Post