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14 May 2020

Tobacco smoking among chrysotile asbestos workers in Asbest in the Russian Federation

Scientists from the Section of Environment and Radiation at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and from the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health in Moscow, Russian Federation, conducted a survey of smoking behaviours among active and retired workers of a chrysotile asbestos mine and its enrichment factories in the town of Asbest, Russian Federation, within the context of a cohort study of cancer mortality among workers in the world’s largest active chrysotile asbestos mine. The paper was published in the BMJ journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

In men, the prevalence of smoking was high and was relatively consistent across birth decades. The smoking prevalence was an average of 66% in male workers and was similar across all levels of cumulative occupational exposure to dust. In women, the prevalence of smoking increased from less than 10% in those born before 1960 to 30% in those born after 1980. The smoking prevalence did not vary appreciably across female workers in different categories of cumulative exposure to dust but was lower in women not considered to be occupationally exposed to dust.

The results of this survey provide important information for the cohort study about possible confounding by smoking when carrying out risk analyses of tobacco-related cancers. The high observed prevalence of smoking also sends an important message to public health decision-makers that tobacco prevention strategies need to be strengthened.

Olsson A, Kovalevskiy EV, Talibov M, Moissonnier M, Byrnes G, Bouaoun L, et al.
Tobacco smoking among chrysotile asbestos workers in Asbest in the Russian Federation
Occup Environ Med, Published online 12 May 2020;

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Published in section: IARC News

Publication date: 14 May, 2020, 0:30

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