Tobacco smoking is a major public health problem. In addition, the influence of socioeconomic status on health inequalities has received great attention worldwide. The authors used insurance data of beneficiaries employed in medium- and small-sized Japanese companies to investigate the influence of occupational background on smoking prevalence as a health inequality among workers in Japan. Participants were aged 35-74 years and underwent health examinations in 2015. Smoking prevalence was estimated for each occupational group according to sex, age, and income. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between smoking status and occupational groups. A total of 385,945 participants were included. Overall smoking prevalence was 36.3%, higher than average in Japan. Smoking prevalence was lowest among workers in the education and learning support category; all other occupational groups had significantly high prevalence, with the highest for transport and postal services (odds ratio 2.69, 95% confidence interval 2.53-2.86). There were few differences in smoking prevalence at higher income levels among female participants, but differences were remarkably significant at lower income levels. For health inequalities related to smoking, occupational background was associated with smoking prevalence. In particular, there was high smoking prevalence in workplaces not covered by smoke-free policies. These results also demonstrated differences between the sexes; smoking prevalence among female workers with lower income levels was strongly associated with occupational background whereas there were no large differences among male workers by income. These findings suggest that the government should encourage companies to adopt smoke-free policies in the workplace.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Leadership and Management
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health