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Occup Med (Lond). 2010 Aug;60(5):348-53. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqq040. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Occupation and mortality related to alcohol, drugs and sexual habits.

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  • 1MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton, UK.



To identify opportunities for targeted prevention, we explored differences in occupational mortality from diseases and injuries related to alcohol consumption, sexual habits and drug abuse.


Using data on all deaths among men and women aged 16-74 years in England and Wales during 1991-2000, we derived age- and social class-standardized proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) by occupation for cause of death categories defined a priori as potentially related to alcohol consumption, sexual habits or drug abuse.


The highest mortality from alcohol-related diseases and injuries was observed in publicans and bar staff (both sexes) and in male caterers, cooks and kitchen porters and seafarers. Male seafarers had significantly elevated PMRs for cirrhosis (179), 'other alcohol-related diseases' (275), cancers of the liver (155), oral cavity (275) and pharynx (267) and injury by fall on the stairs (187). PMRs for human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were particularly high in tailors and dressmakers (918, 95% CI: 369-1890, in men; 804, 95% CI: 219-2060, in women) and male hairdressers (918, 95% CI: 717-1160). Most jobs with high mortality from HIV/AIDS also had more deaths than expected from viral hepatitis. Of seven jobs with significantly high PMRs for both drug dependence and accidental poisoning by drugs, four were in the construction industry (male painters and decorators, bricklayers and masons, plasterers, and roofers and glaziers).


Our findings highlight major differences between occupations in mortality from diseases and injuries caused by alcohol, sexual habits and drug abuse. Priorities for preventive action include alcohol-related disorders in male seafarers and drug abuse in construction workers.

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