CDC Reports: Food Service Workers Smoke. A Lot. | Squid Ink | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Food News

CDC Reports: Food Service Workers Smoke. A Lot.

Comments (0)


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:21 AM

click to enlarge Cooks, smoking. - MICROMOOGMAN/FLICKR
  • micromoogman/flickr
  • Cooks, smoking.

There's nothing like toiling over a smoking stove to get you hankering for a cigarette. According to a brand-new CDC study that surveyed nearly 115,000 working adults between 2004 and 2010, food service workers -- along with miners and construction workers -- are more likely to smoke than most. Thirty percent of chefs, waiters, and dishwashers light up, a solid jolt up from 19.6%, the estimated percentage of all American working adults who cling to the habit.

Some experts -- and plenty of amateur analysts -- may come to the conclusion that food service workers tend to be poorer, less educated, and younger than professionals, and that the statistics reinforce the relationship between smoking and socio-economic status more than smoking and the sauté station. Or maybe it's because a lot of chefs hail from countries in Europe, Asia, or Latin America where smoking is less maligned and thus more popular. Or it's that labor-intensive jobs necessitate regular breaks. And under some circumstances, there's no better excuse for a break than a cigarette. Or at least that's how it was before admitting you smoked became tantamount to owning up to cannibalism.

Back in our food-service days though, we spent half a shift ripping butts in the cooler in the back of the kitchen. The main cook used to spark his Parliaments directly off a gas burner of the sauce-and-grease-frosted stove, just out of view of customers. We were cautious enough to hide in the icy locker, perched on stacked boxes of pollack, our feet propped up on pillows of frozen fries.

Related Content


Now Trending

  • Barton G Review: A Fiasco From Miami, Now in Beverly Hills

    Emailing with a reader, I mentioned that I was in the midst of reviewing Barton G, the new Beverly Hills restaurant. "I just looked up Barton G," he replied, "and apparently I don't have enough eye masks or plumage to go there." It's true: The marketing for Barton G is...
  • Cocktailians Love L.A.

    For quite a long time, New York was where the cocktail action was. Now, though, an ambitious breed of spirits and cocktail-centric entrepreneurs have chosen L.A. — whether by birth or choice — as their home base. Why hang your hat in Los Angeles?  Louis Anderman of Miracle Mile Bitters...
  • Cooking Bay Area (Gasp!) Mexican Food With Tacolicious (RECIPE)

    Admitting Bay Area Mexican food even exists — or is even decent — can be a bitter pill for Angelenos to swallow, but Sara Deseran makes an awesome case for San Francisco with her new cookbook, Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More, released Sept. 2 by Ten Speed...