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Individual, Interpersonal, and Occupational Factors of Cigarette Smoking in Building Trades Workers


Background: Cigarette smoking creates great challenges for blue-collar workers who are more likely to smoke, smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking compared to white collar workers. It is important to identify not only individual factors but also social and work environments that influence smoking behavior in order to reduce the occupational disparity in smoking behavior. Little is known about the combined effect of various factors that influence smoking behaviors among blue-collar workers.

Purpose: The aims of this dissertation were: 1) to estimate the contribution of occupational factors to current smoking; 2) to identify the determinants associated with heavy smoking, focusing on individual, interpersonal, and occupational factors; 3) to assess the impact of individual, interpersonal, and occupational predictors of quitting smoking among building trades workers.

Methods: The data was drawn from the MassBUILT smoking cessation intervention study. The first study included a total of 1,817 building trade apprentices and the second study included 763 current smokers at baseline. The third study used baseline data with follow-up data. Data collection included information about smoking behaviors, individual (e.g., sociodemographic), interpersonal (e.g., household smoking), and occupational factors (e.g., exposure to occupational hazards) obtained through self-report questionnaires.

Results: The first study found that current smoking was significantly associated with union commitment, exposure to dust and chemicals, and concern about exposure to occupational hazards. The second study revealed that heavy smoking was significantly associated with older age, male gender, poorer health status, higher nicotine dependence, earlier age of smoking initiation, higher temptation to smoke, greater perceived benefits of smoking, household smoking or living alone, trade type, and job satisfaction. The third study demonstrated that older age, higher educational attainment and higher household income level, fewer number of cigarettes smoked per day, and more concern about exposure to occupational hazards were significant predictors of quitting smoking.

Conclusion: Blue-collar workers' smoking behavior is influenced by various types of factors. The findings suggest that cessation interventions for this group may need to develop a comprehensive approach that addresses each type, rather than focusing on a single aspect of influence.

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