Despite high smoking rates, there has been limited development of tobacco smoke exposure assessment and smoking cessation outreach strategies targeting the United States construction workforce. These workers have potentially increased occupational exposure to dusty work environments (e.g. asbestos, silica, particulates)and are at high risk for occupational lung disease. We report the prevalence of active and passive tobacco smoke exposure in a convenience sample of construction workers who visited a lunch truck / canteen at two construction sites.
A workplace tobacco smoke exposure assessment was undertaken with a convenience sample of 54 workers employed at two large construction sites. A questionnaire preloaded onto handheld devices was used to record questionnaire data. Salivary and hair samples for cotinine and nicotine assays were collected (reflecting short- and long-term smoke exposure, respectively). A telephone callback survey was administered 2 weeks after the site visit to assess use of smoking cessation resources provided during the assessment.
Thirty-five percent of construction workers were self-reported never smokers, 28% former smokers, and 37% current smokers. Thirty-seven percent of never smokers and 40% of former smokers had biological samples suggesting passive tobacco smoke exposure (cutoff >3.0ng/mL for saliva and >0.23ng/mg for hair). Among smokers, 60% reported planning to stop smoking in 30 days, 95% reviewed the smoking cessation materials within 2 weeks after the site visit, and 85% shared and discussed those materials with family members.
We found evidence of passive tobacco smoke exposure among never and former smokers, as well as interest among current smokers for cessation resources. Workplace smoke cessation strategies that reduce tobacco use and exposure via innovative engagement methods (e.g. lunch truck) are needed.