Mukhtar MS, Rao GM, Gamra NS, Afan AM, Zendah MI.
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Great Al-Fateh University of Medical Sciences, Tripoli, Libya.
The ventilatory capacities of 195 tobacco factory workers exposed to tobacco dust and 190 Libyan men not exposed to tobacco dust were measured. In both groups, the forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s were found to be correlated with age, stature, sitting height and body surface area. Those exposed to tobacco dust have decreased ventilatory capacity values as compared with age-matched unexposed workers. The duration of exposure to tobacco dust does not appear to have any significant effect on the ventilatory function. There was no significant difference in the lung function test values between the smokers and nonsmokers in both groups. The flow-volume curves were constructed for the unexposed and exposed groups of workers. At 25% FVC, in the group exposed to tobacco dust, there was a decrease in air flow by 20.8% as compared to age-matched normal unexposed Libyans. This indicates that the small airways are affected by exposure to tobacco dust. Flow-volume curves are useful in the assessment of lung function status.
Keywords: Respiratory effects of occupational exposure to tobacco dust.