Objectives Contact dermatitis (CD) is the most common occupational skin disease and includes both irritant and allergic forms (ICD and ACD). Smoking has been associated with all of CD, hand eczema and sensitisation in previous studies, but never explored in relation to work-related ACD and ICD specifically. This abstract describes differences in patients who have a work-related diagnosis of ICD, ACD or both ICD and ACD.
Method Data from a study of patients with possible work-related skin or respiratory disease were used. Data included demographics, symptoms, smoking history and physician diagnoses. Differences between diagnosis groups (ICD, ACD, both) were investigated using chi square and ANOVA.
Results In total 163 subjects were diagnosed with work-related CD. Of these, 44% were female, approximately half (51%) were ever smokers and 30% were atopic; the mean age was 44.9 years. ICD was diagnosed in 57% of subjects, ACD in 43% and both ICD and ACD in 14%. Current smoking was more common among subjects with ACD (40%) and those with both ACD and ICD (35%) compared to those with ICD (17%) (p = 0.02); no difference in pack-years was observed.
Conclusions The rate of smoking in this sample was similar to the Canadian population. Age, sex and atopy did not differ between diagnosis groups. Current smokers were more common among those with ACD and those with ACD and ICD. The mechanism by which smoking may be related to the development of allergic skin disease remains unclear (e.g., systemic inflammation, contact, behavioural differences) but deserves further attention.
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