Smoking, respiratory symptoms, and pulmonary function among a population of Hispanic farmworkers

T. E. Gamsky, Marc B Schenker, Stephen A Mccurdy, S. J. Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We conducted a cross-sectional study in the agricultural Central Valley to evaluate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, smoking status, and pulmonary function in Hispanic California farmworkers. Of 759 farmworkers completing questionnaires and spirometry, 747 were Hispanic. The prevalences of current, former, and never smokers (29, 17, and 54 percent, respectively) were comparable to rates in other studies of Hispanics, but daily cigarette consumption (median-five for men and three for women) was lower than in comparison populations. Prevalences of chronic cough, chronic phlegm, and persistent wheeze were low (1.6, 5.1, and 2.8 percent, respectively). Current smoking, increased age, female sex, and working ≥8 months per year in agriculture were associated with increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms. Adjusted lung function was higher than for reference populations. Hispanic California farmworkers have a similar smoking prevalence to other Hispanic populations, but lower respiratory symptom prevalences and higher pulmonary function are consistent with lower daily cigarette consumption and the 'healthy worker effect.'

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1361-1368
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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