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CDC: Construction tops list of industries with highest percentage of tobacco users

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Photo: belterz/iStockphoto

Washington – Although tobacco use continues to decrease among working adults overall, a significant number of workers in the construction, mining, and transportation and warehousing industries still use some form of tobacco product, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 32.7 million working adults reported using tobacco between 2014 and 2016, CDC researchers found after reviewing data from the National Health Interview Survey. That number is down from 39.5 million between 2012 and 2014, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in December 2016.

Among the nearly 9.3 million workers in construction, an estimated 34.3 percent used some form of tobacco product, followed by workers in the mining (30.4 percent), and transportation and warehousing (30.2 percent) industries.

The accommodation and food services industry had the highest prevalence of cigarette smokers (24 percent) and e-cigarette users (5.8 percent), while the mining industry led on use of smokeless tobacco (14.3 percent).

Among the recommendations listed in the report are “proven strategies” to combat use, including anti-tobacco messaging, tobacco-free laws that include public places and worksites, employer coverage for cessation treatment, increased prices for products, and customized interventions to prevent starting and encourage quitting.

“Previous research has indicated that workers at worksites that adopted or maintained smoke-free policies were twice as likely to quit smoking than those whose worksites did not implement such policies,” the report states. “To maximize the health of workers, employers can also consider integrating comprehensive and effective tobacco cessation programs into workplace health promotion programs.”

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