Impact of new smoking trends on women's occupational health

Mushinski, Margaret H.; Stellman, Steven D.

Health problems and needs of females, particularly of working women, are discussed in relation to cigarette smoking and its effects. Problems encountered by working women with regard to understanding and knowledge of health risks are examined, as well as specific diseases and occupations presenting major health problems to the female worker. Smoking is shown to exert effects on females similar to those it exerts on males with regard to those cancers which are generally related to tobacco use. Various occupational exposures such as exposure to asbestos, known to act in synergism with tobacco as a carcinogen, are presented as hazards to the working woman. The cancer-promoting effect of alcohol, in conjunction with smoking, is also mentioned. Heart disease is another health problem which will be confronted by both the working and/or smoking woman, as it is by males. In addition, other occupations formerly thought of as “benevolent”, such as office work, are shown to present health hazards. It is concluded that more and greater health hazards will be faced by women, especially as they smoke more and take on more jobs that were traditionally filled by men. Closer monitoring and assessing of health status of women in the work force is called for to ensure that conditions in the workplace are not detriments to good health. Epidemiologic variables suggested for inclusion in future occupational health studies are presented.


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Preventive Medicine

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July 8, 2014