Asthma in the tobacco industry


Occupations
  •  Tobacco manufacturer
Agents
Tobacco leaves
 
Incidence
Incidence: unspecified. Very dry tobacco leaves are the most dangerous. Moulds such as Alternaria and Aspergillus can alter the symptoms (alveolitis). Subjects are not always atopic. IgE-dependent mechanism. Tobacco smoking plays an aggravating role.
 
Tobacco is a member of the Solanaceae family. Cross-reactivity may exist between the foodstuffs belonging to this family as well as to mugwort or armoise pollen.
 
Conditions
Subjects become sensitized by the inhalation of dried tobacco leaf debris.
 
Symptoms
Rhinitis and asthma with tightness of the chest, acute, sometimes violent dyspnoea.
 
Contact urticaria has also been described.
 
Diagnostic methods
Skin prick test with a tobacco leaf extract.
 
Immunological assay: RAST/CAP RAST with tobacco leaf extract
 
Bronchial provocation test (in hospital).

References

  1. Am. Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1999,82:194 - Ortega N. et al.
  2. Br. J. Ind. Med. 1986,43:802
  3. N. Engl. J. Med. 1980,302:617

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.