To assess the smoking status of coal workers, as coal dust exposure and concomitant cigarette smoking contribute to the increased prevalence of pulmonary interstitial fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other pulmonary diseases. A survey was conducted to determine the smoking prevalence, behaviour and nicotine addiction in coal workers. The target population consisted of 475 underground coal workers who lived in Zonguldak city of Turkey, and we reached 389 of them. Each subject completed a detailed smoking history questionnaire (included 56 question). Chest X-rays and pulmonary function tests were performed to evaluate patients' related diseases and complications. Smoking status of the workers was as follows; Sixty-nine never smokers (17.7%), 62 ex-smokers (15.9%) and 258 current smokers (66.3%). The mean age of starting smoking was similar among ex and current smokers (15.9 ± 4.2 versus 15.0 ± 4.0). The most common reason for starting smoking was smoking interest (50%) and friends' influence (15.5%). The most frequent reason stated for successful smoking cessation was experience of smoking-related symptoms or development of a medical condition (51%). The most important reason given by current smokers for smoking cessation attempts was increased chance of developing lung cancer, pneumoconiosis and other diseases (22.9%). Nicotine addiction was assessed by the Fagerstroem test. Mild (0-3 points), moderate (4-6) and severe (7 or more) addiction ratios were found to be 39.1%, 44.2% and 16.7% respectively. Ex-smokers had the highest prevalence of large and small airway obstruction on spirometry. Smoking prevalence is high in coal workers living in Zonguldak city of Turkey. Most of the smokers know that smoking is dangerous and want to quit smoking. A detailed smoking history during medical surveillance may help the occupational physician to develop a system in which such individuals can be referred to comprehensive smoking cessation programs.
2004 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health