Research/studies Worker health and wellness Construction Mining, oil and gas

Tobacco use high among miners, construction workers: study

Atlanta – Workers in the construction and mining industries are among those most likely to smoke cigarettes and use smokeless tobacco products, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers studied data from nearly 60,000 workers on tobacco use in 2005 and again in 2010. They found that cigarette smoking among working adults dipped to 19.1 percent in 2010 from 22.2 percent in 2005, but the change in smokeless tobacco use (to 3.0 percent from 2.7 percent) was not statistically significant.

Industry-specific data raised several red flags for researchers. In 2010, 18.8 percent of workers in the mining industry used smokeless tobacco (i.e., chewing tobacco or snuff) and 27 percent smoked cigarettes. That same year, 7.9 percent of workers in the construction industry used smokeless tobacco and 29.5 percent smoked cigarettes.

Both types of products can lead to long-term health issues. Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to combustible tobacco, researchers said. They recommended employers help reduce tobacco use by designating workplaces as tobacco-free, providing employees with information about the risks of tobacco use and sponsoring workplace-based tobacco-cessation services.