ROCKVILLE Md. Full-time workers in food preparation and serving-related jobs are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those in any other occupation, a new study says.
The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, found that 44.7 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 in the food preparation and serving-related occupations smoked during the past month.
SAMHSA is a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The report, titled "Cigarette Use among Adults Employed Full Time, by Occupation Category," revealed that 33.6 million workers between the ages of 18 and 64 -- or 28.4 percent of all workers in that category -- said they smoked during the past month. Workers in 22 major occupational categories were polled for the study. A full-time employed person is defined as anyone who usually works 35 or more hours per week.
According to the study of full-time foodservice workers between 18 and 64 years old, 46.9 percent of males smoked cigarettes during the past month versus 42.7 percent of females.
The study also found that cigarette use in the workplace declined by age. In the foodservice industry, 50.2 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 25 smoked, compared with 48.6 percent of workers aged 26 to 34; 40.6 percent of employees aged 35 to 49; and 35.0 percent of workers aged 50 to 64.
SAMHSA officials are hoping the study will lead to the development of programs in the workplace that will address the dangers of smoking.
"The study provides important insight and updated information that can be used to assist in developing or refining smoking cessation efforts for specific workplace groups," said Eric Broderick, SAMHSA's acting administrator.
"The workplace is an ideal location for programs to educate employees about the risks of smoking and programs to promote smoking cessation to reduce risks of illnesses such as heart disease and cancer," he said.
After the foodservice industry, the next highest category was the construction and extraction occupations, in which 42.9 percent of full-time employees said they had lit up over the past month.
The lowest rates of smoking were found in the education, training and library occupations, in which 12.3 percent of full-time workers smoked.