Miners and construction workers smoke the most, says a CDC report

Miners and people in the hotel and food service industry have the highest smoking rates, while those in education have the lowest, finds a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on smoking prevalence in various professions.

Data from the National Health Interview Survey found that overall the incidence of smoking was highest among those who didn’t graduate high school, had no health insurance and lived below the federal poverty line. Smoking rates among all working adults surveyed was 19.6%.

When broken down into professions, smoking prevalence among miners and people in hotel and food service was 30%, followed closely by people who worked in construction jobs (29.7%). Other professions with higher rates included transportation and warehousing (24.3%), manufacturing (23.2%) and retail (23.1%).

In the lower ranks of smoking prevalence were people who worked in education services (9.7%), business management (10.9%) and finance and insurance (13.9%).


Among occupation groups, those in construction and extraction had the highest incidence of smoking at 31.4%, while those in education, training and library work had the lowest (8.7%).

Smoking rates in the U.S. went from 27.8% during 1987 to 1994 to 24.5% during 1997 to 2004, the report said. But from 2005 to 2010 rates have leveled off.

Some workplace interventions have been effective in getting employees to quit, the study authors noted, but more needs to be done. “Although some progress has been made in reducing smoking prevalence among working adults,” they wrote, “additional effective employer interventions need to be implemented.” They added that those should include health insurance coverage for stop-smoking treatments, user-friendly help for people who want to quit and policies for a smoke-free workplace.