Smoking and alcohol consumption at work: Everything you should know.

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

The effects of smoking and alcohol on health have received considerable attention as a high priority of public health problem.

According to HSCIC, 2013, approximately 20% of the UK population are smokers. Lower satisfaction with jobs, financial conditions, health, and physical condition as well as non-working activities, are reported by people who smoke in comparison with those who do not smoke. Smoking is highly correlated with poor mental health in general.

Moreover, Jane-Llopis & Matysina, 2006 estimated that alcohol is an established risk factor for depression, and up to 10% of male depression is related to alcohol consumption. However, moderate levels of alcohol consumption when compared with total non-consumption are associated with lower susceptibility to disease, fewer depressive symptoms, higher levels of subjective wellbeing and better cognition. There was also evaluated that the number of adults exceeding 3 or 4 units of alcohol on at least one day a week was higher for men (34%) than for women (28%).


Another study, by the Asian Institute of Research, examined the relationship between alcohol smoking and the safety of workers. The participants were 1392 public sector employees from South Wales, UK. 39.3% of the sample were smokers and 32.3 % consumed alcohol more than the recommended safe level.

Individuals who consumed more than the recommended safe level of alcohol showed behaviours of risktaking and cognitive failures. While, those consuming alcohol at a safe level had the lowest scores for physical symptoms, fatigue, and depression. Non-consumers had higher scores for these outcomes than those consuming at the recommended safe level. Those consuming above the recommended limit had the lowest job satisfaction. They followed by non-consumers, whereas those consuming alcohol below the safe limit had the highest job satisfaction.

There were no significant interactions between alcohol consumption patterns and smoking. Moreover, smokers rated their job as significantly more enjoyable and reported fewer injuries outside of work, but had more symptoms which were mainly respiratory. Groups of smokers may have greater social interaction while having a cigarette.

Overall, future research is required to use a multivariate longitudinal approach and to identify underlying mechanisms. There should be also assessed the benefits of education about alcohol consumption and smoking cessation.

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