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CDC: More than 5 million U.S. workers using e-cigarettes

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Atlanta – About 5.5 million working adults in the United States used electronic cigarettes in 2014, with the prevalence highest among workers in the accommodation and food services industry, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC examined data collected from more than 36,000 adults for the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. Of the estimated 146 million adults working in the United States, 3.8 percent used e-cigarettes. Widespread use was highest among:

  • Cigarette smokers (16.2 percent)
  • Users of other combustible tobacco or smokeless tobacco (15 percent)
  • Workers without health insurance (5.9 percent)
  • Workers ages 18 to 24 (5.1 percent)
  • Workers who earned less than $35,000 (5.1 percent)

People with food preparation and serving-related jobs used e-cigarettes the most (6.8 percent), followed by workers in wholesale trade (5.2 percent) and manufacturing (4.8 percent).

“These findings underscore the importance of evidence-based interventions, in coordination with continued surveillance of e-cigarette use among U.S. workers, particularly with regard to concurrent use of e-cigarettes with other tobacco products, to reduce tobacco-related disease and death among this population,” researchers wrote.

The report offers strategies to lower tobacco use and promote tobacco-free workplaces. Among them: Employers can enforce policies that ban tobacco use, offer tobacco cessation programs and partner with health departments to inform workers about the adverse health effects of tobacco use.

The research was published in the June 10 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

E-cigarette use has increased in recent years, especially among current and former cigarette smokers, the report notes. Long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown, but carcinogens, toxins and other harmful chemicals have been found in the aerosol of some e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

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