Company efforts to stamp out tobacco often go up in smoke

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers have long used financial penalties to try to push smokers to quit, but recent studies suggest these wellness programs may not improve workers' health or reduce employees' overall costs.

Starting this month, the truck-rental company U-Haul will screen out people who use tobacco or nicotine when making new hires in certain U.S. states. The unusual approach is intended to generate health care savings.

The American Cancer Society recommends employers focus on smoke-free workplaces and comprehensive quit-smoking programs, rather than penalizing smokers with fees or exclusionary hiring practices.