Working time and cigarette smoking: evidence from Australia and the United Kingdom

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

July 15, 2014


Cigarette smoking is a risk factor in a range of serious diseases,
including cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke and type II diabetes.
Theory suggests that working long hours will increase smoking
propensities among workers. Consequently there is a significant body of
evidence on the relationship between working time and smoking. Results,
however, are inconsistent and therefore inconclusive. This paper
provides new evidence on how working time affects smoking behaviour
using nationally representative panel data from Australia (from 2002 to
2011) and the United Kingdom (from 1992 to 2011). We exploit the panel
design of the surveys to look at within-person changes in smoking
behaviour over time as working time changes. In contrast to most
previous studies, this means we control for time invariant aspects of
personality and genetic inheritance that may affect both smoking
propensities and choice of working hours. We find that working long
hours tends to increase the chances that former smokers will relapse,
reduce the chances that smokers will quit and increase cigarette
consumption among regular smokers, and that these effects tend to become
more pronounced for workers who usually work very long hours (50 or
more hours a week) compared to those who work moderately long hours
(40-49 hours a week).

Published in

Social Science and Medicine

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 112 , p.72 -79






Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest