Burned: Arizona County Wants to Stop Hiring Smokers

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If one Arizona county administrator's new proposal passes, job seekers there need not apply if they like to take smoke breaks.

Chuck Huckelberry, the administrator, said in a memo last week that the county wants to stop hiring smokers "as part of Pima County's ongoing commitment to employee wellness, increased productivity and decreased medical costs ... This proposal is based on years of research regarding the negative effects of tobacco and nicotine on the health of individuals and the staggering costs to employers providing health coverage."

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Pima County declared their college campuses tobacco-free zones in 2013, but the proposed and expanded initiative would include:

  • Not hiring smokers for county jobs
  • Testing for nicotine use among current employees
  • Enacting a surcharge on smokers covered by the county health plan

The proposal isn't on the Board of Supervisors' agenda, reports NBC affiliate 12News, but Huckelberry said he expects it will go to the board in October, and will be "passed in some form."


— Lou Dubois