Smoking Trends Among US Nurses Mirror Those of Society

Most nurses who ever smoked have quit
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The declining rates of nurses in the United States who smoke mirror the declining rates among American women in general, and most nurses who ever smoked have already quit, according to a report published in the November/December issue of Nursing Research.

Linda Sarna, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study and looked at smoking patterns among nurses over a period of 27 years.

Whereas in the 1976 Nurses' Health Study, 33.2 percent of nurses were current smokers, by the 1989 study the proportion had dropped to 13.5 percent and declined again by 2002/2003 to 8.4 percent, the study showed. Of all nurses who had ever smoked at this time, 79 percent had already quit, the data revealed. The results are significant because nurses' smoking behavior affects the likelihood that they will offer smoking cessation interventions to patients, as well as affecting their own health.

"These findings of the declining smoking rate among these nurses mirror the decline in the smoking rate among women in the United States and provide a window into the changing social norms of smoking among women," the authors write. "These data provide an insight into the devastating impact of smoking among nurses and among women during the past 30 years."

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