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Nurses, Smoking, and Immunity: A Review

Authors

  • Akinori Nakata PhD,

    Coteam Leader, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Akinori Nakata, PhD, is a coteam leader of the Work Organization and Stress Research Team, Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.

  • Naomi G. Swanson PhD,

    Branch ChiefSearch for more papers by this author
    • Naomi G. Swanson, PhD, is branch chief of the Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.

  • Claire C. Caruso PhD RN

    Health ScientistSearch for more papers by this author
    • Claire C. Caruso, PhD RN, is a health scientist in the Human Factors and Ergonomic Research Team, Organizational Science and Human Factors Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.


cji5@cdc.gov

Abstract

Nurses regularly are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards. In addition to documented occupational hazards, exposure to smoking remains a major concern. This article reviews the prevalence of smoking among nurses working in the United States and discusses their reasons for smoking. Researchers conducted a state-of-the-art review on the effects of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) on the immune system. Smoking prevalence among nurses working in the United States ranged from 7%–12%, and high work stress, poor work environment, shift work, and peer influence were suspected major risk factors influencing smoking behavior. A review of the effects of smoking on immunity revealed that both active smoking and exposure to SHS negatively affects immune function. When rehabilitation nurses stop smoking, their health improves and nonsmokers are exposed to less SHS. Rehabilitation nurses are encouraged to share knowledge of the immunological benefits of smoking cessation with patients to facilitate nurse-led rehabilitation programs.

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