Burden of smoking and occupational exposure on etiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in workers of Southern Italy

J Occup Environ Med. 2008 Mar;50(3):366-70. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318162f601.


Objective: This study evaluates the burden of smoking and occupational exposure on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: Two thousand nineteen workers underwent a diagnostic protocol for COPD at the baseline and after 5 and 10 years. Taking into account individual and occupational exposures the sample was divided in four groups. Prevalence, incidence of COPD, differences among groups, and logistic regression were calculated.

Results: Higher COPD prevalence and incidence were observed in the group with combined exposures. Smoking habits and occupational exposure were confirmed as risk factors for COPD and an interaction between smoking and occupational exposure was found.

Conclusions: Workers exposed to both risk factors have to be considered in COPD high-risk class. Smoking cessation programs could play an important role particularly in activities where effects of smoking have a positive interaction with occupational exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Dust
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Spirometry
  • Vital Capacity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Dust