Smokers have more difficulty getting jobs, study finds ;
a longitudinal one-year study by researchers at the School of Medicine at Stanford University strongly suggests that smokers remain unemployed longer than nonsmokers. And when smokers find jobs, they earn much less than non-smokers.
The study will be published April 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine . Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, is lead and the lead author.
Previous studies have shown an association between smoking and unemployment in the United States and Europe, Prochaska said. In earlier work, his team found that the unemployed seeking employment in California were disproportionately more likely to be smokers than in people who had jobs were.
Cause or effect of unemployment?
But it has not been clear whether smoking is the cause or the consequence of unemployment. “You do not know if smokers have more difficulty finding work or if smokers are more likely to lose their jobs, or when non-smokers lose their jobs, get stressed and start smoking “Prochaska said.
In a first step to establish that smoking can actually prevent people from getting jobs, Prochaska and his team surveyed 131 smokers from non-smokers and 120 unemployed unemployed at baseline and then at six and 12 months. “We found that smokers had a much harder time finding work than nonsmokers,” Prochaska said.
jobs At 12 months, only 27 percent of smokers had found compared with 56 percent of non-smokers. And among those who had found work for 12 months, smokers earned on average $ 5 less per hour than non-smokers.
“have been established health damage of smoking for decades,” Prochaska said, “and here our study provides an idea of the financial damage of smoking, both in terms of lower reemployment success and lower wages. ”
Prochaska and colleagues used survey questions and a breath test for carbon monoxide levels for classifying job seekers in either smokers or daily smokers. The participants were not randomized, and smokers and nonsmokers differ in a number of important ways, as well as whether they smoked. For example, smokers were on average younger, less educated and poorer health than non-smokers. Such differences may influence the ability of job seekers to find work, Prochaska said.
For this reason, researchers analyzed their data for control of these and other factors such as the duration of unemployment, race and criminal records. “We design analysis of this study so that smokers and nonsmokers were as similar as possible in terms of the information they had in their records of employment and employment prospects at baseline,” said co-author Michael Baiocchi, PhD, assistant professor of medicine who oversaw the data analysis.
After controlling for these variables, smokers still had a great disadvantage. After 12 months, the rate of reemployment of smokers was 24 percent lower than that of nonsmokers.
Testing the hypothesis
In a follow-up study already underway, Prochaska and his team are testing an intervention that helps job seekers quit . Smokers no more than two years unemployed are being randomized to one of two groups. Those in the treatment group receive special help to quit smoking while the control group received brief counseling and referral to a helpline to quit. The hypothesis is that those who quit smoking successfully will have an easier time getting a job. Researchers hope to enroll a total of 360 smoking ; more than 60 have already been registered. Residents of the San Francisco Bay who are interested in participating in the study can call (415) 216-5853 for more information or go to http://www.employmentsmokingstudy.com .
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