Miners, construction workers smoke more than other workers

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A new report on smoking prevalence in several professions from the Centers for Disease Control shows that miners and construction workers are among the heaviest smokers in the United States.

The National Health Interview Survey also showed people who didn’t graduate from high school, lacked health insurance and had salaries below the national poverty level were the group who had the highest incidence of smoking. The survey also showed that just under 20 percent of all adults who work are smokers.

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S.,” said the report. “Some people who smoke every day are smoking fewer cigarettes; however, even occasional smoking causes harm.”

In 2005, the percentage of American adults who smoked was 20.9 percent, and in 2010, that number had decreased to 19.3 percent. The report from the CDC focused on Americans who smoke in certain professions.

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Miners and those in hotel jobs had the highest incidence of smoking in their professions, with 30 percent of those surveyed reporting as smokers. Construction workers came in a close second with 29.7 of those reporting on the survey saying they smoke. Transportation and warehousing, manufacturing and retail came next on the list, with the percentages for those professions being 24.3, 23.2 and 23.1, respectively.

Those who work in education, training and library work had the lowest incidence of smoking in any profession group, with 8.7 percent of responders indicating they smoke.

The study authors said that many employers have incentive programs to attempt to get employees to quit smoking, but they are not always successful.

"Although some progress has been made in reducing smoking prevalence among working adults," they wrote, "additional effective employer interventions need to be implemented."

The study authors said that it is possible to decrease smoking among American workers, but everyone has to work together to make sure the right combination of incentives is out there.

“Reducing tobacco use is a winnable battle—a public health priority with known, effective actions for success. A combination of smoke-free laws, cigarette price increases, access to proven quitting treatments and services and hard-hitting media campaigns reduces health care costs and saves lives,” they said.

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