January 9, 2020 | NPR

U-Haul's Nicotine-Free Hiring Rule Reflects A Trend That Troubles Workers' Advocates

But the policies are raising concern around labor and medical ethics. Harald Schmidt, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, says targeting smokers disproportionately harms poor people.

"To me, this is more about fair equality of opportunity," he says.

Smoking is a behavior, so Schmidt doesn't equate it with discriminating on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. But he notes that nearly half of unemployed people smoke. And quitting is hard, because many are addicted.

"You're basically posing a double whammy on them," he says. "It's very hard for them to get work, and it's even harder for people who are already in a vulnerable situation."

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