Saf Health Work.  2017 Dec;8(4):402-406. 10.1016/

Prevalence and Correlates of Current and Former Smoking among Urban Transit Workers

  • 1Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Oakland, CA, USA.


Transit workers constitute a blue-collar occupational group that have elevated smoking rates relative to other sectors of employed adults in the United States. This study analyzed cross-sectional tobacco survey data from 935 workers (60% African American; 37% female) employed at an urban public transit agency in California. Prevalence of current and former smoking was 20.3% and 20.6%, respectively. Younger workers were less likely than older workers to be current or former smokers. Having a complete home smoking ban was associated with decreased likelihood of being a smoker [odds ratio (OR) = 0.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.01–0.17], as were neutral views about whether it is easy for a smoker to take a smoking break during their shift (OR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.28–0.88). Current smoking among the sample is > 50% higher than the adult statewide prevalence. Potential points of intervention identified in this study include perceived ease of worksite smoking breaks and establishing home smoking bans. Tailored cessation efforts focusing on older transit workers more likely to smoke are needed to reduce tobacco-related disparities in this workforce.


blue-collar workers; health disparities; smoking
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