Changes in Smoking Prevalences Among Health Care Professionals From 2003 to 2010-2011

No Smoking sign

A recent study by UCLA shows smoking prevalence among health care professionals is down.

The Issue:


Smoking by health care professionals can make interventions with patients difficult by sending mixed messages. Thus, a decline in smoking not only benefits the health care professionals themselves, but the patients they treat as well. Among registered nurses, the percentage dropped by more than a third during the time period studied.

Key Findings

  • The proportion of registered nurses who smoke dropped from 11 percent to 7 percent from 2003 to 2010–2011.

  • The percentage of health care professionals who continue to smoke remains highest among the licensed practical nurses at 24.99 percent in 2010–2011.


In the early portion of the study, from 2003 to 2006-2007, smoking prevalences among health care professionals demonstrated no significant declines. However, between 2003 and 2011 the proportion of registered nurses (RNs) who smoke dropped by more than a third. Continued smoking and diminished quitting among licensed practical nurses (LPNs) remains a serious concern.

About the Study:

The study used self-respondent data on health care professionals from the Tobacco Use Supplement for 2003 (n=3877), 2006–2007 (n=3870), and 2010–2011 (n=2975). Physicians, RNs, LPNs, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and dental hygienists were included and analyzed by smoking status: never smokers, former smokers and current smokers.