Measuring Progress to Protect Workers From Job-Related Secondhand Smoke in Texas

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Abstract of Journal Article - December 2005  

By Debra A. Patt, MD; Donald R. Shopland; Christy M. Anderson; David M. Burns, MD; Joel Dunnington, MD; and Ellen R. Gritz, PhD

Exposure to secondhand smoke is a significant public health problem, causing 38,000 premature deaths annually in nonsmokers. The two major sources of exposure are the home and work. We analyzed occupational data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey for smoke-free policy trends among various categories of Texas workers.

Nearly three quarters of white collar workers in the state are currently smoke free, but proportionately fewer blue collar and service workers enjoy this level of protection.  Hispanics report lower rates of smoke-free policies than whites and African-Americans, and younger workers are less protected than older workers. Smoke-free policies increased 27% from 1992-93 through 1995-96 but only 5% over the next 6 years, indicating a significant slowing in the rate of adoption of such policies. Compliance with a smoke-free policy is not a significant workplace issue in Texas; only 2.7% of workers in 2001-02 reported that someone violated their company's smoke-free policy, down from 5.1% in 1992-93. 

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