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J Occup Health year 2002 volume 44 number 5 page 315 - 320
Classification Original
Title Habitual Smoking and Musculoskeletal Symptoms in Japanese Blue-Collar Workers
Author Masaiwa INOUE and Noriaki HARADA
Organization Department of Hygiene, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Japan
Keywords Musculoskeletal symptoms, Smoking, Blue-collar workers
Correspondence M. Inoue, Department of Hygiene, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine 1-1-1, Minamikogushi, Ube-City, Yamaguchi 755-8505, Japan
Abstract Habitual Smoking and Musculoskeletal Symptoms in Japanese Blue-Collar Workers: Masaiwa INOUE, et al. Department of Hygiene, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine-Whether smoking is associated with musculoskeletal disorders is still debatable. To determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among smoking and non-smoking employees doing strenuous physical work, we conducted a survey by means of a questionnaire that was distributed as a part of the annual health examination in a pulp and paper mill. The questions included smoking habit and musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck, arms, shoulders, back and low back. The analysis was performed on 905 male employees working in the manufacturing plant. For most age groups and regions, the percentage of smokers was greater among subjects with symptoms than among subjects without symptoms. Particularly among subjects in their 20s and 50s, there were significant differences in the percentage of smokers with symptoms and the percentage of smokers without symptoms (P<0.01 for both age groups). Although the percentage of ex-smokers was greater among subjects without symptoms than among subjects with symptoms, the difference was not significant except among subjects in their 50s (P=0.023). The percentages of ex-smokers in their 50s were greatest among subjects without symptoms for all 5 musculoskeletal regions. When the percentages of current smokers were analyzed according to the number of regions in which musculoskeletal symptoms were present, the number of regions tended to increase with the percentage of smokers but not significantly. Our study supports an association between habitual smoking and musculoskeletal symptoms with a proposal for an educational campaign aimed at helping individuals quit smoking.