Smoking Rates Among Nurses: An Ironic Phenomenon

Meagan Cosper

Dr. Catherine Edwards, DNP, MSN, RN

Abstract description: There is a drastically high rate of cigarette smoking among nurses, despite having vast knowledge and education of the human body and disease risk factors. Specific roles of the nurse include caring for patients’ bodies and educating patients on lifestyle changes, however there is an ironic connection between nurses and their willingness to use maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as cigarette smoking. Why is there such a high rate of cigarette smoking among this population of healthcare professionals? How does smoking among the nursing profession compare to other occupations? How can self-care deficits be combatted? Occupational stress and altered circadian rhythms play the largest impact on nurses’ willingness to smoke. The most prevalent demographics of nurses who smoke include those with reported high stress levels, working alternating or night shifts, and males under 29 years old (Tagliacozzo & Vaughn, 1982). Previous interventions targeting cigarette smoking among nurses have been implemented, including online resources and smoke-free policies, however additional primary prevention techniques need to be addressed, since this is an ongoing issue. Nurses are the largest portion of healthcare workers, signifying the magnitude of cigarette smoking among this population. In order to serve others through nursing, act as patient educators and mentors, and aid in patient smoking cessation, nurses need to first care for themselves and this includes cigarette smoking cessation.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-3-2021


Dr. Catherine Edwards

Mentor Department Affiliation

Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing