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Respiratory effects of occupational exposure to tobacco dust.
  1. G Viegi,
  2. P L Paggiaro,
  3. E Begliomini,
  4. E Vaghetti,
  5. P Paoletti,
  6. C Giuntini


    Few investigations of the respiratory effects of occupational exposure to tobacco dust have been carried out and the threshold limit value has not well been established. A cross sectional survey on a sample of 223 male and female workers at a cigar and cigarette factory in Lucca (Tuscany) showed a significantly higher prevalence of wheezing, attacks of shortness of breath with wheezing, dyspnoea, and rhinitis than in a reference population. A trend towards a decrease in forced end expiratory flows according to smoking habit and work duration was evident. Positive skin prick tests were observed in 26% of men and 23% of women and were positively associated with duration of work and negatively with cigarette smoking. Thin interstitial space involvement was observed on chest x ray examination in almost half the female workers with more than 35 years exposure. These findings suggest that prolonged exposure to tobacco dust may have negative health effects and that it is advisable to establish a threshold limit value for tobacco dust different from that of inert dust.

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