THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 20 percent of American workers are smokers, particularly the least educated, poorest, youngest and uninsured, a new government report finds.
Of workers without a high school education, more than 28 percent smoke, similar to people with no health insurance. Nearly 28 percent of those living below the federal poverty level and 24 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 smoke, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The smoking rate is 19.3 percent among all adults in the United States," said report co-author Ann M. Malarcher, a senior scientific adviser in the Office on Smoking and Health at the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
It's known what works to help these workers quit smoking, Malarcher said. For instance, employers can cover their workers health insurance, including waiving co-payments for smoking cessation programs.
"We also know that establishing 100 percent smoke-free workplace policies does support and assist people with quitting smoking," she added.
More education is also needed about the dangers of smoking, Malarcher said.
The report was published in the Sept. 30 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a CDC publication.
Using data from the National Health Interview Survey for 2004-2010, the researchers also found that smoking prevalence among workers varied by industry and job.
Among those in educational services, less than 10 percent smoked, compared with 30 percent among people in mining and food services industries. By job, the range of smokers went from less than 9 percent among those in education to more than 31 percent among construction workers, the researchers found.
"We were surprised by the disparities among the occupational groups," Malarcher said. "There is a threefold [difference] between the
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