July 1, 2005
"I'm healthy, I don't need to quit."
The most important tool construction workers have is their body. If your body can't handle the hard work then you're not going to last in the trade. But workers who are young and healthy tend to think of themselves as indestructible. When it comes to tobacco it's easy to think, "Nothing bad will happen to me, all that stuff happens to old people. I'll quit by then." But an important study shows that young, healthy workers can suffer the effects of tobacco. More than 87,000 men and women serving in the U.S. Army were tracked for over 2 years for hospitalizations and lost work days.
Ø Smokers had a 30% higher risk of ending up in the hospital for reasons other than injury.
Ø Women who smoked had a 25% higher risk of being hospitalized for reasons other than injury or pregnancy.
Ø Even former smokers showed a higher risk of being hospitalized: 20% for men and 13% for women.
Ø Smokers showed a 60% higher risk of lost workdays among men and a 15% higher risk of lost workdays among women!
Ø Taking all risk factors into consideration, the U.S. army would have 18% fewer lost work days if everyone in it went tobacco-free.
Lost work days mean lost wages for construction workers. Even young healthy smokers lose more work days (and money) for health reasons than non-smokers. This study has special meaning for employers who suffer economically from lost work days. Our Health & Welfare funds also feel the pinch from the extra health care costs, not to mention the human suffering represented by illness! Get healthy, stop smoking!
You can quit!
Call the California Smokers Helpline
Sources: Tobacco Control 200; 9: 389-396 (Winter)