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A U-Haul truck in California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

U-Haul will not hire people who use nicotine products in 21 states beginning Feb. 1 in an attempt "to establish one of the healthiest corporate cultures in the U.S. and Canada," the company announced Monday in a statement.

Why it matters: The ACLU considers anti-nicotine hiring policies "discriminatory" and a violation of worker privacy, but smokers are not a protected class under federal anti-discrimination laws, which allow states to create their own laws on smoker bans.

The states where it is legal to not hire nicotine users: Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

  • The 29 other states and the District of Columbia have "smoker protection" laws that shield users from hiring discrimination, according to the American Lung Association.
  • People applying for a job at U-Haul in the 21 states will be questioned about their nicotine use in an interview and will have to take a nicotine screening in states where they are allowed. Workers hired prior to Feb. 1, 2020, will not be affected by the policy.
  • "This policy is a responsible step in fostering a culture of wellness at U-Haul, with the goal of helping our Team Members on their health journey," Jessica Lopez, the company's chief of staff said in a statement.

The other side: Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University's School of Public Health, told ABC News that he disagrees with U-Haul's new policy.

  • "In public health, we try to encourage people to engage in healthy behavior, but we do not punish them and stigmatize them when they don't. ... It punishes exactly the people who should be rewarded for having accomplished this difficult feat."

Go deeper:

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Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

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The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

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Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.

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