Tobacco Use Among Mexican Farmworkers Working in Tobacco

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston -Salem, NC, 27157, USA.
Journal of Agromedicine (Impact Factor: 0.91). 02/2003; 9(1):83-91. DOI: 10.1300/J096v09n01_08
Source: PubMed


This survey evaluated tobacco use of migrant tobacco workers in eastern North Carolina. Sixty-nine (38%) out of 181 mostly male, Mexican farmworkers were smokers. Compared to non-smokers, three times more smokers reported alcohol use in the past week (p=0.002). More smokers compared to non-smokers reported poor to fair health, and fewer had worked previously in tobacco agriculture, but these differences were not statistically significant. Also not statistically significant, those smokers who were older and those who understood the most English smoked more cigarettes per day. Because farmworkers are exposed to many non-tobacco respiratory irritants, and because of the health risks of smoking, those who smoke should be urged to quit.

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    • "Cigarette smoking is practiced at low intensity in the farmworker population. Farmworkers who smoke report smoking, on average, less than 5 cigarettes per day (Spangler et al., 2003), with younger smokers reporting fewer cigarettes smoked per day than older smokers. This age-related difference likely accounts for current smoking status not predicting metals exposure, but pack years, predicting both As and Cd. "
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundImmigrant farmworkers are a population at risk for numerous environmental and occupational exposures. The metals arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium are known neurotoxins to which workers can be exposed both in the US and in their country of origin. Because farmworkers are exposed to neurotoxic pesticides, they may be at risk for adverse health effects from the combined exposure.ObjectivesTo examine the relationship between exposure to metals, as measured in urine, with personal and work-related characteristics of Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the US.MethodsWe analyzed data on metals found in urine of 258 farmworkers recruited from 44 camps in eastern North Carolina in 2007. Geometric means and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to compare data with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We used multivariate regression models fitted for each metal to estimate the association of creatinine-corrected urinary metals and worker characteristics related to environmental and occupational exposures.ResultsGeometric mean urinary metals concentrations (μg/g creatinine) exceeded NHANES reference values for arsenic (13.23 [CI 11.11, 15.35] vs. 8.55 [CI 7.23, 9.86]) and lead (1.26 [CI 1.08, 1.43] vs. 0.63 [CI 0.60, 0.66]). Age, being from the central region of Mexico, and pack years of cigarette smoking were significant predictors of metals exposure; being a current smoker and years worked in US agriculture were not.ConclusionsThis first study to examine indicators of worker body burdens of metals shows that workers have body burdens related to exposures other than work in the US. Further research should address their risk for adverse health outcomes due to combined exposures to neurotoxins in pesticides.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Environmental Research
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    • "igration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North ( Alcindor 2005 ; Martin 2004 ) . 1 Accompanying the shift to mechanized tobacco farming , the labor on tobacco gradually changed from African Americans to Latino migrant workers from Mexico , Guatemala , and other Central American and Caribbean countries ( B - Line Films 2007 ; Spangler et al . 2003 ) ."
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    ABSTRACT: The cigarette companies and their lobbying organization used tobacco industry-produced films and videos about tobacco farming to support their political, public relations, and public policy goals. Critical discourse analysis shows how tobacco companies utilized film and video imagery and narratives of tobacco farmers and tobacco economies for lobbying politicians and influencing consumers, industry-allied groups, and retail shop owners to oppose tobacco control measures and counter publicity on the health hazards, social problems, and environmental effects of tobacco growing. Imagery and narratives of tobacco farmers, tobacco barns, and agricultural landscapes in industry videos constituted a tobacco industry strategy to construct a corporate vision of tobacco farm culture that privileges the economic benefits of tobacco. The positive discursive representations of tobacco farming ignored actual behavior of tobacco companies to promote relationships of dependency and subordination for tobacco farmers and to contribute to tobacco-related poverty, child labor, and deforestation in tobacco growing countries. While showing tobacco farming as a family and a national tradition and a source of jobs, tobacco companies portrayed tobacco as a tradition to be protected instead of an industry to be regulated and denormalized.
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Society for Visual Anthropology Newsletter
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    ABSTRACT: Farmworkers experience high rates of occupational injury and illness in an industry with fatality rates seven times higher than the national average. This chapter addresses key occupational health challenges encountered by farmworkers in the eastern United States. Some are common problems likely to be encountered by those working any commodity, while others are unique to the particular mix of crops produced in this region. This chapter reviews common occupational health problems of farmworkers, including heat stress, musculoskeletal injuries, skin disease, hearing loss, eye injury, and transportation-related injuries. Because some knowledge of geographic, commodity-specific, and other patterns of illness and injury occurrence can be of considerable assistance to the clinician, examples of prominent occupational challenges associated with selected commodities are also presented. These include orchard work, tobacco production, dairy farming, and vegetable and berry production. Recommendations for more effective protections for farmworkers and for further research are presented.
    No preview · Chapter · Feb 2009