2.85 million extra smokers: Inequalities in smoking prevalence trends by occupational group in England
PHE ePoster Library. Murdock L. 09/12/18; 221437; 15
Lars Murdock
Lars Murdock
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Abstract Background: England's routine and manual workers (R&Ms) are more likely to smoke and less likely to successfully quit smoking compared with managerial and professional workers (M&Ps). To drive change, this inequality needs to be quantified in human and economic outcomes. Further analysis can determine whether occupation group is independently associated with smoking status.Methods: Using Health Survey for England data from 2001-2015, changes in smoking prevalence were examined. Proportions with confidence intervals were used to identify significant changes. Mixed effects logistic regression tested the independent association of occupation on smoking prevalence trends.Results: Prevalence fell by similar absolute amounts, but relative decreases were quite different between groups, leaving smoking prevalence in 2013-2015 twice as high in R&Ms compared to M&Ps. This occupation-associated inequality reflects higher smoking take-up rates, but similar smoking quitting rates. Occupation group had an independent association with smoking status. If smoking prevalence in R&Ms matched that for M&Ps in 2013-15, there would be 2.85 million fewer smokers in England today. This would mean 2 million fewer working days lost due to smoking related sick leave and 9.5 million fewer working hours lost due to smoking breaks every week in the R&M workforce.Conclusions: England's smokers are becoming increasingly concentrated in the R&M workforce, with clear economic consequences. Though smoking rates are declining in R&Ms, the relative and absolute decline is smaller than that seen in M&Ps. More efforts are needed both to increase successful quitting in R&Ms and to encourage R&Ms to not start smoking.
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