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Food Workers Heaviest Smokers: Study

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Food preparation and food serving workers are the heaviest smokers among people with full-time jobs, according to a new U.S. report.

The study of 2006-08 data found that 33.6 million full-time employees ages 18-64 smoked cigarettes in the past month.

Smoking was reported by 44.7 percent of food preparation/serving workers, followed by 42.9 percent of construction and mining/extraction workers. The lowest smoking rates were among people in education, training and library occupations (12.3 percent) and those who worked in the life, physical and social sciences area (15.4 percent), according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study.

Among the other findings:

* Unemployed people ages 18 to 64 had a much higher percentage of past-month cigarette use than full-time workers -- 45.4 percent vs. 28 percent.
* Among full-time workers, the rate of past month smoking was higher among those ages 18 to 25 (40.1 percent) than those ages 26 to 34 (33.9 percent), ages 35 to 49 (26.7 percent), and ages 50 to 64 (20.7 percent).
* Overall, men with full-time jobs were more likely than women to have smoked in the past month, but women with community and social services, healthcare, and technical occupations had higher smoking rates than men in those occupations.

"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," SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick said in a news release.

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