Local U-Haul dealerships unaffected by new anti-nicotine rule

Danielle Tenhave: 'I think the whole tobacco ordeal is being blown out of proportion'

MECOSTA, LAKE, OSCEOLA COUNTIES — While U-Haul International will soon be a nicotine-free workplace beginning Feb. 1, area U-Haul Neighborhood Dealerships state they still will be hiring people, whether they smoke or not.

"We're just a sub-dealer for U-Haul, so it won't be affecting us," Reed City U-Haul Neighborhood Dealer owner Dan Skiver said.

According to Skiver, U-Hauls are dispersed throughout the U.S., where people can rent the moving vans; however, that doesn't mean all the dealerships in the area will be complying with U-Haul International's new rule, as the dealerships are independently owned.

"I heard about that about a week ago, and I have not heard any details as to how anybody is going to enforce any of that," Big Rapids U-Haul Neighborhood Dealer owner Ed Skodak said. "I don't know what (U-Haul)'s reasoning is, but I don't have any problems at this end."

Skodak said he doesn't have employees who smoke; however, he wouldn't be opposed to hiring someone who does, noting he'd just set restrictions as to when and where they could smoke.

While Skodak has no employees who smoke, the U-Haul Neighborhood Dealership in Baldwin has a number of employees who use nicotine, and was unaware of the new rule implemented by U-Haul International.

Tenhave added she doesn't see the rule affecting their dealership, as the business works secondary to their smoke shop, Pure Michigan Solutions.

"We're actually a tobacco store, and everybody who works here smokes," Pure Michigan Solutions manager Danielle Tenhave said.

"I think the whole tobacco ordeal is being blown out of proportion," she said.