Cigarette Smoking Prevalence Varies By Gender and Occupation Interview with:
Girija Syamlal MBBS, MPH , Epidemiologist
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
CDC, Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown,WV 26505

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Syamlal: During 2004–2011, of the 141 million U.S. adults, 20.7% were current cigarette smokers. Smoking prevalences were higher among men (22.8%) than women (18.3%). In both men and women, cigarette smoking prevalence varied widely by occupational group. In certain occupations, the prevalence of smoking was three times greater than the Healthy People 2020 goal that aims to reduce cigarette smoking prevalence to 12%.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Syamlal:: Among working adults, women had lower prevalence of smoking than men, yet women who smoke were more likely than men to have adverse health outcomes, including self-rated poor physical and emotional health.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Syamlal: Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death, disability and disease, and is one of the most important modifiable risk factors. Clinicians should continue to screen and provide cessation assistance for smoking and other tobacco use. Patients who smoke should talk to their healthcare providers about measures they can take to quit smoking.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Syamlal: Future studies should explore methods to include industry and occupation, smoking behaviors, gender, and health outcomes for designing targeted intervention programs specific to a given population. Targeting occupations with high smoking prevalence while considering gender differences may further reduce smoking and improve overall wellbeing.


Gender Differences in Smoking Among U.S. Working Adults.
Am J Prev Med. 2014 Oct;47(4):467-475. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.06.013.
Epub 2014 Jul 18.
Syamlal G1, Mazurek JM2, Dube SR3.


Last Updated on October 24, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD