Firefighters play a crucial role in protecting the lives and property of the communities they serve. Health and readiness for duty among women firefighters is of great concern because they are a significantly understudied group in this critical occupation. A tobacco-free fire service has been strongly promoted, but there are no published data on the extent and types of tobacco use among women firefighters.
Data were collected as part of a national online study of the health of women in the fire service.
A total of 1,712 women firefighters completed questions regarding tobacco use. Unadjusted smoking and smokeless tobacco rates were 5.1% and 1.2%, respectively. Age standardized smoking rates were lower than those of male firefighters and U.S. adult women. Smokeless tobacco use prevalence was very low compared with male firefighters, but comparable with U.S. adult women. Tobacco users were more likely to have lower education and income and were younger when compared with those who did not use tobacco. There was a strong association between tobacco use and problem and binge drinking.
Current findings suggest that the rates of cigarette and smokeless tobacco use are relatively low among women firefighters. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as problem and binge drinking were strongly associated with tobacco use.
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Nattinee Jitnarin, PhD, is Principal Investigator, Institute for Biobehavioral Health Research, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., and focuses on health behavior, addictive behavior research, and tobacco use, with a background in health outcomes research, statistics, epidemiology, nutrition, and health-related behaviors.
Walker S.C. Poston, PhD, MPH, is Director, Institute for Biobehavioral Health Research, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., and Senior Principal Investigator, Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research. Dr. Poston focuses on epidemiology, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Christopher K. Haddock, PhD, is Deputy Director and Senior Principal Investigator, Institute for Biobehavioral Health Research, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. Dr. Haddock's research interests are in occupational health, health care policy, and biostatistics.
Sara A. Jahnke, PhD, is Director, Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research and Principal Investigator, Institute for Biobehavioral Health Research, National Development & Research Institutes, Inc. Dr. Jahnke works in occupational health, women's health, behavioral health, and qualitative research methods.
Published online: June 19, 2019
Accepted: May 16, 2019
Received in revised form: April 30, 2019
Received: October 22, 2018
Supported by the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (grant number R21HL119024; S.A. Janhke, PI).
There are no financial conflicts of interest involving any of the authors.
© 2019 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc.