Some Workers Using More Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco use in US higher in mining industry and among construction workers

(RxWiki News) Could the job you have or the industry you work in be tied to the likelihood that you use certain tobacco products? Authors of a new study say this just might be the case.

The study examined rates of smokeless tobacco use among US workers during 2005 to 2010.

The study found that workers in certain jobs and fields of work, like mining, had higher rates of smokeless tobacco use.

"Talk to your doctor if you're struggling to quit using tobacco products."

According to the authors of this new study, which was led by Jacek M. Mazurek, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, the use of smokeless tobacco products—like chewing tobacco and snuff—has been found to cause oral cavity, esophagus and pancreas cancers.

In order to examine the usage rates of these products in the US, Dr. Mazurek and team utilized data from the National Health Interview Survey. The study focused on the responses of working adults over the age of 18 during the years 2005 to 2010.

Survey participants who reported using chewing tobacco or snuff more than 20 times during their life and currently using the products every day or some days were identified as smokeless tobacco users. The researchers used the survey data combined with US census data to estimate nationwide smokeless tobacco product use.

After analyzing the data, Dr. Mazurek found no significant change in smokeless tobacco use among working adults from 2005, when 2.7 percent of this group was found to use the products, to 2010, when the rate was 3.0 percent

In the most recent year examined, 2010, the highest rates of smokeless tobacco use was found to be among men (5.6 percent), non-Hispanic whites (4.0 percent), adults between the ages of 25 and 44 (3.9 percent), people with no higher than a high school education (3.9 percent) and people in the Southern US (3.9 percent).

Dr. Mazurek and team also looked at specific industries, or fields, and specific occupation types, or job roles, and found different rates.

In terms of different industries, education services had the lowest smokeless tobacco use rate, at 1.5 percent, while mining industries had the highest at 18.8 percent. In terms of occupations, office and administrative support at the lowest rate at 1.3 percent while construction and extraction had he highest at 10.8 percent.

"These findings highlight opportunities for reducing the health and economic burdens of tobacco use among US. workers, especially those in certain industries (e.g., mining) and occupations (e.g., construction and extraction) where use of smokeless tobacco is especially common," wrote Dr. Mazurek and team.

The researchers noted that programs like employee health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation programs and workplace bans on tobacco products could help.

This study provides an estimation of smokeless tobacco use for the nation and for different fields of work. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

The study was published online June 6 in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. No conflicts of interest were reported. 

Review Date: 
June 6, 2014