Protecting workers from secondhand smoke in North Carolina

ArticleinNorth Carolina medical journal 66(3):186-91 · November 2004with13 Reads
Source: PubMed
Exposure to job-related secondhand smoke represents a significant, but entirely preventable occupational health risk to non-smoking workers. This article examines trends in smoke-free workplace policies in North Carolina. We also examine whether workers comply with such policies. Data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey were analyzed from 1992 through 2002. Trends for North Carolina workers are compared with workers nationally and trends are presented by age, race, gender, and type of worker. North Carolina ranks 35th in the proportion of its workforce reporting a smoke-free place of employment. The proportion of workers reporting such a policy doubled between 1992 and 2002. Females were more likely to reporta smoke-free work environment (72.0%, CI +/- 2.6) than males (61.2%, CI +/- 4.6%). Blue-collar (55.6%, CI +/- 5.5) and service workers (61.2%, CI +/- 8.4), especially males, were less likely to report a smoke-free worksite than white-collar workers (73.4%, CI +/- 2.6). Compliance with a smoke-free policy does not appear to be an issue, only 3.2% of workers statewide reported someone had violated their company's nonsmoking policy While some progress has been made in North Carolina to protect workers from secondhand smoke, significant disparities exist. Smoke-free policies can make a significant difference in reducing exposure to airborne toxins and their associated diseases, and these protective public health policies have not been shown to reduce business revenues. Much has been done to assure the health and safety of workers through public health policy However, opportunities to protect North Carolina workers from the health effects of secondhand smoke are limited by a preemptive state law.
    • "In a study on workplace SHS exposure in the US trucking industry (Chiu et al. 2010), only 23% of nonsmokers and 10% of smokers reported that the smoke-free policies were always enforced. Plescia et al. (2005), in a study addressing SHS exposure among workers in North Carolina, reported that 3% of workers had violated the company smokefree policy. Even one person violating a smoke-free policy can result in multiple nonsmokers being exposed to SHS. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The workplace is one of the major locations outside of the home for nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). New policies in many states and localities restrict or prohibit smoking in the worksites and information on current trends in the exposure of nonsmokers to SHS across various occupational groups is therefore needed. Objective: To evaluate temporal trends in SHS exposure among nonsmoking workers in the United States, and identify those occupations with workers with the highest levels of SHS exposure. Methods: We combined serum cotinine (sCOT) measurements and questionnaire data from five survey cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES: 2001-2010). Trends of SHS exposure by occupations were examined by percent changes and least-squares geometric means (LSGMS) of sCOT concentrations computed using sample-weighted multiple regression models. Results: Between NHANES 2001-02 and 2009-10, LSGMs of sCOT levels had changed -25% (95% CI: -39, -7%) in nonsmoking workers. The largest decrease was identified among food preparation workers -54% (95% CI: -74, -19%), followed by white collar (-40%, 95% CI: -56, -19%) and blue collar workers (-32%, 95% CI: -51, -5%). LSGMs of sCOT remained highest in food preparation workers in all survey cycles, but the gap between occupations narrowed in the latest survey cycle (2009-10). For instance, the gap in LSGMs of sCOT between food preparation and science/education workers dropped above 70% during 2000 to 2010. Conclusions: During the period from 2001 to 2010, the overall SHS exposure in nonsmoking workers has declined with substantial decline in food preparation/service and blue-collar workers. Although disparities persist in SHS exposure, the gap among occupations has narrowed.
    Article · May 2016
    • "Studies on the equity effect of smokefree polices were divided into two groups: those that assessed policies that were voluntary, regional or partial and those assessing comprehensive national smokefree legislation. Twenty-five studies (Arheart et al., 2008; Delnevo et al., 2004; Deverell et al., 2006; Ellis et al., 2009; Farrelly et al., 1999; Ferketich et al., 2010; Frieden et al., 2005; Guse et al., 2004; Guzman et al., 2012; Hawkins et al., 2012; Hemsing et al., 2012; Levy et al., 2006; Moussa et al., 2004; Nabi-Burza et al., 2012; Parry and Platt, 2000; Patel et al., 2013; Plescia et al., 2005; Razavi et al., 1997; Shavers Shopland et al., 2004; Skeer et al., 2004; Stamatakis et al., 2002; Tang et al., 2003; Tong et al., 2009; Verdonk-Kleinjan et al., 2009) evaluated voluntary, regional or partial smokefree policies: local adoption of smokefree policies exclusively in the workplace (12) or in public places (3), regional impacts of smokefree policy (6), partial national workplace smoking bans (2), and voluntary smoking bans in cars (2). The equity impact of these studies was: one positive, one neutral, 19 negative and four unclear. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and Aims There is strong evidence about which tobacco control policies reduce smoking. However, their equity impact is uncertain. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of population-level interventions/policies to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in adult smoking. Methods Systematic review of studies of population-level interventions/policies reporting smoking-related outcomes in adults of lower compared to higher socioeconomic status (SES). References were screened and independently checked. Studies were quality assessed. Results are presented in a narrative synthesis. Equity impact was assessed as: positive (reduced inequality), neutral (no difference by SES), negative (increased inequality), mixed (equity impact varied) or unclear. Results 117 studies of 130 interventions/policies were included: smokefree (44); price/tax (27); mass media campaigns (30); advertising controls (9); cessation support (9); settings-based interventions (7); multiple policies (4). The distribution of equity effects was: 33 positive, 36 neutral, 38 negative, 6 mixed, 17 unclear. Most neutral equity studies benefited all SES groups. Fourteen price/tax studies were equity positive. Voluntary, regional and partial smokefree policies were more likely to be equity negative than national, comprehensive smokefree policies. Mass media campaigns had inconsistent equity effects. Cigarette marketing controls were equity positive or neutral. Targeted national smoking cessation services can be equity positive by achieving higher reach among low SES, compensating for lower quit rates. Conclusions Few studies have assessed the equity impact of tobacco control policy/interventions. Price/tax increases had the most consistent positive equity impact. More research is needed to strengthen the evidence-base for reducing smoking inequalities and to develop effective equity-orientated tobacco control strategies.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014
    • "Worksite smoking policies such as smoke free workplaces can reduce cigarette smoking during working hours [Fichtenberg and Glantz, 2002] and can decrease workers' exposure to second hand smoking [Arheart et al., 2008; Hammond et al., 1995]. However, blue-collar workplaces are less likely to implement restrictive smoking policies [Gerlach et al., 1997; Plescia et al., 2005; Shopland et al., 2004; U.S. DHHS, 2006]. Furthermore, operating engineers work outside; thus, they are not subject to Clean Indoor Air rules about smoking on the job. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the association between knowledge of chemical exposure at work and cigarette smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a total of 151 Korean immigrant drycleaners (mean age = 49 years, 64 % male) from 96 drycleaning shops in a Midwestern state. The data were collected on demographic and work-related characteristics, knowledge of occupational chemical exposure, health concerns associated with chemical exposure, and smoking status. Approximately 25 % of participants were current smokers. The multivariate regression showed that greater knowledge of occupational chemical exposures was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of current smoking [odds ratio (OR) .63; 95 % confidence interval (CI) .41-.95]. Furthermore, male gender (OR 6.32; 95 % CI 1.66-24.00), shorter-term residence in the US (OR .93; 95 % CI .88-.98), and having multiple duties (OR 2.76; 95 % CI 1.01-7.51) were important covariates associated with current smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. Knowledge on occupational chemical exposure was significantly associated with smoking among Korean immigrant drycleaners. Smoking cessation programs for this population should consider integrated approaches that incorporate work environment factors into individual and sociocultural components.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014
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