These findings highlight opportunities for reducing the health and economic burdens of tobacco use among U.S. workers, especially those in certain industries (e.g., mining) and occupations (e.g., construction and extraction) where use of smokeless tobacco is especially common.
In 2010, cigarette smoking among working adults was significantly lower than in 2005 (19.1 percent vs. 22.2 percent), but the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use among adult workers did not significantly differ (3.0 percent in 2010 vs. 2.7 percent in 2005), according to a new study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Among working adults who also smoked cigarettes, the proportion who used smokeless tobacco was 4.1 percent in 2005 and 4.2 percent 2010.
Smokeless tobacco use varied widely by industry and occupation, and was highest among workers in the mining industry (18.8 percent) and in construction and extraction occupations such as mining and oil and gas extraction (10.8 percent). These findings can help health professionals direct assistance to working men and women to stop using smokeless tobacco, a known cause of oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer.