Feds Spend $200,131 Using Food Trucks to Get Hispanic Construction Workers to Quit Smoking

‘Novel intervention’

Construction worker holding spanner / AP
February 5, 2016

The National Institutes of Health is spending more than $200,000 on a "novel" study using food trucks to get Hispanic construction workers to stop smoking.

Researchers on the project, which is being conducted by the University of Miami, will attempt to give workers "counseling sessions" about the dangers of smoking while they are on their lunch breaks.

A grant for the project explained that food trucks have never been used to try to get Hispanic men who work construction jobs to quit smoking before.

"A novel approach that was recently piloted by our team is to partner with the lunch truck that routinely visits construction sites to deliver brief worksite-based, effective health promotion interventions," the grant said.

"Our proposed exploratory study aims to tackle these major barriers to smoking cessation in Hispanic construction workers, by: 1) increasing their access to cessation through the use of the construction site as the intervention setting and the lunch truck as the intervention delivery modality to reach and recruit them, and 2) involving them in the development and evaluation of a pilot smoking cessation intervention adapted to their unique cultural and work circumstances."

The smoking cessation program will be "culturally sensitive." One hundred workers will receive "face-to-face behavioral counseling session delivered at the lunch truck."

Study subjects will also receive two short follow-up phone calls, a fax referral to a tobacco quitline, and eight weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum. The workers will then be interviewed after three months.

"This study will be the first to develop and evaluate a novel, low cost recruitment and intervention strategy in a hard-to-reach and underserved population of Hispanic male construction workers," the grant said.

The project was awarded $200,131 in December. Research will continue until November 2017.

The grant said male Hispanic construction workers were chosen because they tend to smoke, and the number working in the industry has tripled over the past decade.

"Given that construction trades remain overwhelmingly male dominated, male Hispanic workers constitute a large and increasing group in need for smoking cessation and health promotion," the grant said.