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Ohio city stops hiring smokers to encourage healthier workplaces

Employees who smoke cost thousands of dollars more annually in medical costs

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

DAYTON, Oh. – Dayton, Ohio will no longer hire people who flunk pre-employment tests for tobacco and nicotine, according to Dayton officials. 

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

Kenneth Couch, Dayton Human Resources Director, 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.