Korean J Epidemiol.  2002 Jun;24(1):29-36.

Green Tobacco Sickness on Tobacco Harvesters in a Korean Village

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea. wisewine@dongguk.ac.kr


PURPOSE: This study was conducted to understand the proportion and the risk factors of green tobacco sickness (GTS).
The authors conducted a questionnaire among tobacco harvesters; 94 people from 59 households at a village in Youngduk-gun from Feb 1 to Feb 3, 2002.
The study group contained 49 females and 45 males. The mean durations of employment and the length of the working day were 23.3 14.2 years and 11.8 2.7 hours, respectively. The symptoms related to tobacco harvest were dizziness in 64 cases (68.1%), headache in 46 cases (48.9%), nausea in 45 cases (47.9%), sore eyes in 37 cases (39.4%), and vomiting in 36 cases (38.3%). The experience of GTS up until 2001 was 70.2%. The proportion of GTS in 2001 was 67.0% and was significantly higher in females (84.9%, p<0.01). The proportion of GTS by work days in 2001 was 16.4 spells/100 person days. The proportion of non-smokers was significantly higher than smokers (p<0.01). Therefore, smoking was negatively associated with GTS. The use of gloves and wristlets significantly increased the proportion of GTS (p<0.05). Through multiple logistic regression, significantly associated factors with GTS were found to be smoking (OR=0.18, 95% CI: 0.06-0.54), wearing of gloves (OR=9.20, 95% CI: 1.27-66.52), and sweating (OR= 3.52, 95% CI: 1.08-11.47). Of those who reported GTS in 2001, 65.6% underwent treatment from the local medical facilities. The distribution of the medical facilities utilized was pharmacies 39.3%, and medical health centers 26.2%.
: In Korea, there are many tobacco harvesters, and most may be stricken with green tobacco sickness. In the future it is hoped that more extensive epidemiological studies will be conducted


Green tobacco sickness; Tobacco; Nicotine; Poisoning
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