Occupation and Lung Cancer Mortality in a Nationally Representative U.S. Cohort: The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

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Objective:The objective of this study was to assess the risk of lung cancer mortality in a nationally representative sample of U.S. workers by occupation.Methods:National Death Index linkage identified 1812 lung cancer deaths among 143,863 workers who participated in the 1987, 1988, and 1990–1994 National Health Interview Surveys.Results:Current and former smoking status was predictive of lung cancer mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 15.1 and 3.8, respectively). Occupations with significantly higher risk for age- and smoking-adjusted lung cancer mortality included heating/air/refrigeration mechanics (HR = 3.0); not specified mechanics and repairers (HR = 2.8); financial records processing occupations (HR = 1.8); freight, stock, and materials handlers (HR = 1.5); and precision production occupations (HR = 1.4).Conclusion:Although tobacco use continues to be the single most important risk factor for lung cancer mortality, occupational exposure to lung carcinogens should be targeted as well to further reduce the burden of lung cancer.

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