Understanding the needs of smokers who work as routine and manual workers on building sites: results from a qualitative study on workplace smoking cessation

Public Health. 2013 Feb;127(2):125-33. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.10.002. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


Objectives: The number of adults who smoke is decreasing, yet this decreasing trend is not spread evenly across the population, with the greatest number of smokers in the routine/manual worker (R/M) population. This study aimed to gain insight into the beliefs, behaviours and cessation needs of R/M smokers working on construction sites to inform the potential development of a work-based smoking cessation service.

Study design: A qualitative study in a work-based setting in the UK.

Methods: Semi-structured focus group discussions and individual interviews (n = 23) with R/M employees on two development sites in London and seven employers. Data were analysed using a framework approach.

Results: Key motivations for smoking continuance within this group were evident: physical effects, habit and routine, opportunity and social factors. Employees were knowledgeable about the negative health impacts of smoking, but showed limited awareness of smoking cessation services and aids available. Intentions to give up smoking were common, with favourable attitudes towards the development of a work-based smoking cessation service.

Conclusion: The milieu of construction sites means that tailored approaches to work-based smoking cessation programmes are needed to maximize potential benefits for both employees and employers. Reconsideration of current Smokefree legislation as it applies to the construction industry is also required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Construction Industry*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Workplace
  • Young Adult