Objective: It is unknown if the gap in smoking rates observed between United States blue- and white-collar workers over the past four decades has continued into the new millennium.
Methods: The National Health Interview Survey is a nationally representative survey of the US civilian population. Smoking and current occupational status were assessed over survey periods 1987 to 1994 and 1997 to 2004 (n= 298,042).
Results: There were significant annual reductions in smoking rates for all adult US workers in both survey periods. Several blue-collar groups had greater annual smoking rate reductions in the most recent survey period relative to the earlier survey period. However, the majority of blue-collar worker groups had pooled 1997 to 2004 smoking rates in excess of the 24.5% smoking prevalence noted for all workers.
Conclusion: Development of effective smoking prevention strategies specifically targeting blue-collar groups is warranted.