Insurer Humana Inc. won't hire smokers in Arizona

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2011 11:20 AM
Insurer Humana Inc. won't hire smokers in Arizona

Health insurer Humana Inc. says it will begin testing all Arizona job applicants for tobacco use, and those who light up won't get the gig.

The company says it will test new workers for nicotine use starting Friday, using a pre-employment urine drug screen.

Humana implemented a tobacco ban for new employees in Ohio two years ago. That program didn't test for nicotine use among new hires like the Arizona program will, but the company says the effort has worked.

Humana representatives say it makes sense for a health care company to lead by example. They cite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics that show smoking causes about 443,000 deaths each year.

The company's ban for new hires will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

The insurance giant tells The Arizona Republic that existing Humana-employed smokers won't be required to stop lighting up but will be encouraged to do so.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com