Ohio city stops hiring smokers, citing health and cost benefits

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Dayton officials say the southwestern Ohio city will no longer hire people who flunk pre-employment tests for tobacco and nicotine.

The Dayton Daily News reports the change is intended to encourage a healthier workplace and reduce the city’s health costs.

Dayton Human Resources Director Kenneth Couch says employees who smoke cost thousands of dollars more annually in medical costs and lost productivity.

Union leaders say they understand the policy’s aims but worry it’s a “slippery slope” to restricting employees based on other lawful lifestyle choices.

The new policy doesn’t apply to smokers already on the payroll. But new applicants will be tested for tobacco and nicotine, and if hired can be tested again if there’s reasonable suspicion they’ve used those products.

Other public agencies and private employers have such policies.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

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