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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 2004;26(1): 39-49.
Epidemiological Characteristics and Changes of Prevalence for Green Tobacco Sickness among Korean Tobacco Harvesters.
Joo Sub Lee, Sung Han Bae, Hyun Sul Lim, Kwan Lee
1Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, DonggukUniversity, Korea.
2Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine,Dongguk University, Korea. wisewine@dongguk.ac.kr
Abstract
PURPOSE:
This study was carried out to investigate the epidemiological characteristics and changes of prevalence for green tobacco sickness (GTS) for 2 years.
METHODS:
The author conducted a questionnaire survey on the tobacco harvesters (875 persons from 478 out of 555 tobacco harvesting households surveyed last year) in Cheongsong-gun for 4 days from May 26 to 29, 2003.
RESULTS:
The study subjects comprised 456 males and 419 females. The prevalence of GTS in 2002 was 50.5%, which was significantly higher than the 43.0% in 2001 (p<0.01). The incidence density of GTS in 2002 was 11.3 spells/100 person?working-days, which was lower than the 12.1 spells in 2001. Regardless of risk factors such as smoking, workingdays, and working hours, the prevalence of GTS in 2002 was higher than that in 2001. Among various GTS symptoms reported by the tobacco harvesters in 2002, cases of nausea were increased, while diarrhea, dyspnea and cough were decreased compared with 2001. The degree of GTS symptoms in 2002 was increased in 198 cases (64.5%), and decreased in 42 cases (13.7%). The proportion of harvesters who underwent treatment from their local medical facilities in 2002 was significantly decreased compared with that in 2001.
CONCLUSIONS:
In Korea, there are many tobacco-harvesting households, most of which may be stricken with GTS. It is very important for doctors to diagnose the disease exactly and to develop prevention methods for GTS. I expect that more extensive epidemiological studies including the incidence and associated risk factors will be needed. In addition, surveillance system and measurements of urinary cotinine should be conducted.
Keywords: Green tobacco sickness; Tobacco; Nicotine; Poisoning


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