Trends in US smoking rates in occupational groups: the National Health Interview Survey 1987-1994

J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Jun;46(6):538-48. doi: 10.1097/


It is unknown if reductions in U.S. adult smoking rates are uniform across occupational groups. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is a multistage area probability cross-sectional survey of the U.S. civilian population. Data on occupational and smoking status were collected on 141122 adult participants from the 1987, 1988, and 1990 -1994 NHIS annual surveys. Overall smoking rates ranged from 58% in roofers to 4% in physicians, with higher rates found among blue collar professions. There were reductions in smoking from 1987-1994 within 72% of occupational groups; 19 of these downward trends were significant and occurred exclusively within white collar professions. Blue collar workers continue to smoke in large numbers, whereas white collar workers report lower rates along with corresponding significant downward trends in rates among selected occupational groups. The development of effective smoking prevention strategies targeting blue collar groups is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Center for Health Statistics, U.S.
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology