Occupational exposure to second hand smoke and respiratory and sensory symptoms: A cross-sectional survey of hospital workers in Egypt
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The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Cairo, Egypt
Tobacco Control Department, Ministry of Health and Population, Cairo, Egypt
Tobacco Control Coalition, Cairo, Egypt
Environmental Health Sector, Ministry of Health and Population, Cairo, Egypt
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014;27(1):60-70
Objective: Exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS) has been associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms, upper and lower respiratory tract diseases and an increased risk of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The majority of cases of mortality and morbidity is attributable to exposure of adults to SHS and is related to cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. In Egypt, comprehensive smoke-free laws exist, however, in many workplaces they are poorly enforced consequently exposing workers to the detrimental health hazards of SHS. We aimed at determination of workplace exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS) and its association with respiratory and sensory irritation symptoms in hospital workers in Port-said governorate in Egypt. Material and methods: A cross-sectional face to face survey was conducted by the use of a standardised questionnaire among 415 adult hospital workers; representing 50% of all employees (81% response rate); recruited from 4 randomly selected general hospitals in Port-said governorate in Egypt. Results: All hospitals employees reported exposure to SHS - on average 1.5 (SD = 2.5) hours of exposure per day. After controlling for potential confounders, exposure to SHS at work was significantly associated with an increased risk of wheezes (OR = 1.14, p < 0.01), shortness of breath (OR = 1.17, p < 0.01), phlegm (OR = 1.23, p < 0.01), running and irritated nose (OR = 1.14, p < 0.01) as well as a sore, scratchy throat (OR = 1.23). Conclusions: These findings point out that workplace exposure to SHS is evident in hospitals in Port-said governorate and that workers are adversely affected by exposure to it at work. This underlines the importance of rigorous enforcement of smoke-free policies to protect the workers' health in Egypt.
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