Objectives: In this study we examined the relationship between occupational status and smoking habits in men and women during the period from 1977 to 1990.
Methods: Cigarette smoking and occupational history were obtained from 8045 men and women who served as controls for a hospital-based study of tobacco-related diseases.
Results: There was an association between increasing occupational status and tobacco exposure in men, but not in women. The quit rate increased over time in all sex-occupational groups except for male laborers, whose quit rate remained constant. Nicotine-dependent smokers are likely to find it difficult to quit. Male nicotine-dependent smokers were consistently found in greater numbers among blue collar workers throughout the study period. Initially, female nicotine-dependent smokers were more often found among blue collar workers, but in recent years became more frequent among white collar workers.
Conclusion: These trends provide clues to the future epidemiological distribution of lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases. An understanding of gender differences in the occupational profile of cigarette smokers can provide guidelines for effective antismoking interventions.