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Objectives: Previous studies on drivers focused on the effect of their exposure to vehicle exhaust and there is little evidence of the effect of smoking. This cohort analytical study aimed to examine the mortality of drivers relative to smoking and professional driving in Guangzhou, China.
Methods: Information on demographic characteristics, type of driver (professional and non-professional), smoking, and drinking were retrieved from medical records of drivers who applied for driving licences from March to December 1992. Vital status and causes of death of 81 344 men aged 30 or above were ascertained to the end of September 1999 (follow up, mean=7.14 years, median=7.17 years).
Results: At baseline, the mean (SD) age was 40.8 (5.6) years. One third were professional drivers; 49.0% were daily smokers. 858 Deaths were identified. The relative risk of overall mortality for ever smoking was 1.24 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.07 to 1.44) after adjusting for age, alcohol drinking, education, and type of drivers. Compared with non-professional drivers, professional drivers had similar risks of death, and their relative risk of overall mortality for ever smoking was 1.35 (1.06 to 1.71).
Conclusions: Smoking is a more important cause of death than professional driving itself. The results show serious public health problems in the early stage of the tobacco epidemic and support urgent measures to help drivers stop smoking.
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