Anti-Smoking Effort Targets Truckers

Teamsters start anti-smoking, obesity campaign for truckers

Anti-Smoking Effort Targets Truckers

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is teaming up with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, to focus on reducing smoking by truck drivers as well as the issue of obesity among the commercial driver population.

“Smoking has ingrained itself into the truck driving culture but there is no reason why this can't be reversed,” said Tyson Johnson, IBT’s freight division director. “This program fits into the daily lives of truck drivers so it will be much easier for them to stay involved in the program. Anything the Teamsters Union can do to improve the lives of our members, we will do.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded researchers at DFCI two grants totaling $3 million to develop workplace-based health promotion and prevention programs. DFCI will be working with the Teamsters Union on a study called “Health Promotion for Mobile Workers: Addressing Smoking Cessation and Obesity.”

The DFCI study will assess the effectiveness of a tailored telephone delivery program on tobacco use and weight management for motor freight workers, and will provide one of the first evidence-based health promotion programs for mobile workers.

“Because of the mobile nature of this work, worksite health programs are generally inaccessible for these workers; in addition transportation workers have among the highest smoking rates of any workers,” said Glorian Sorensen, director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Community Based Research, and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study's principal investigator.

“Workers may use smoking to alleviate boredom, cope with stress and fatigue, and to connect with fellow workers; being overweight may be strongly tied to drivers’ lack of physical activity and unhealthful food options available on the road,” she added. “We will develop a program that responds to these concerns.”

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