Ventilatory Function and Cigarette Smoking in Cement Handlers in North Central Nigeria: A Cross-sectional Study

  • MO Akanbi
  • FO Akanbi
  • A Malu
  • CO Ukoli
Keywords: Ventilatory function, respiratory symptoms, cement, Nigeria


Introduction: Occupational exposure to dust and cigarette smoking play important roles in the pathogenesis of lung diseases, particularly in developing countries. To determine the effects of outdoor cement dust exposure and cigarette smoking on lung health, we compared ventilatory function in cement handlers (smokers and non-smokers) to non-smoking persons without occupational exposure to dust in north-central Nigeria.
Methods: In this comparative cross-sectional study, 90 male cement handlers and 90 age and sex matched controls were interviewed using the Medical Research Council respiratory questionnaire to assess for respiratory symptoms, dust exposure and cigarette smoking. Spirometry was carried out using ATS/ERS criteria. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 software.
Results: The mean FEV1 among cement handlers and controls were 3.46 (0.83) L and 4.00 (0.71) L respectively (p < 0.001), and the mean percentage predicted FEV1 was 88.4 (17.4) % in cement handlers and 105.1 (13.3) % in controls (P < 0.001). There were 28 (31.1%) cigarette smokers among the cement handlers, and this group had significantly higher frequencies of cough, sputum production, breathlessness, wheeze and chest tightness as well as lower FEV1 than non-smoking cement handlers.
Conclusion: Exposure of cement handlers to cement dust was associated with ventilatory function impairment and a high frequency of respiratory symptoms, both aggravated by cigarette smoking.

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