If You Use Tobacco and Live in Arizona, Insurance Giant Humana Inc. Won't Hire You

Starting July 1, if you use tobacco and live in Arizona, don't even think about applying for a job at insurance giant Humana -- it doesn't want you.

The company announced yesterday that it will begin testing potential employees at its five Arizona work locations for nicotine (yes...nicotine).

"Humana is dedicated to helping our associates take charge of their own health and to provide our associates with a tobacco-free worksite," stated Charles Cox, vice president and market medical officer for Humana in Arizona, Nevada and Utah. "We believe personal responsibility and healthy lifestyles are critical components of solving our country's health care cost crisis and improving workplace productivity."

Tobacco products banned under the new hiring policy include cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, and cigars.

As part of the policy, Humana will test the urine of job applicants' to see if they test positive for nicotine. After that, employees are required to "self report" tobacco use.

If an employee hired under the new policy is dumb enough to out their tobacco use,
they must "actively participate in a tobacco-cessation program."

Current employees, however, can still use tobacco products, and will not have their urine tested for nicotine. However, they are encouraged
"to enroll in the tobacco-cessation program, which is available at no cost to associates."

In 2009, Humana implemented a similar program in its Ohio offices. However, they didn't refuse to hire tobacco users, rather, they just forced new hires to participate in a "tobacco-cessation program."

According to Humana, that policy's been fairly successful -- a survey of 2010 tobacco-cessation program participants in Ohio shows that 89 percent of participants established a quit date, 89 percent were tobacco-free for a period of time, and 78 percent currently are tobacco-free.

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James King
Contact: James King

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