Working with tobacco
Quite apart from the health impacts of smoking or chewing tobacco are the health hazards of working with tobacco. The nicotine inhaled from smoking or absorbed from chewing tobacco is also rapidly absorbed through the skin when harvesting tobacco, leading to a condition called green tobacco sickness (GTS). GTS has been reported to occur in 1-10% of US tobacco workers and younger workers are at higher risk, which means that the prevalence may be even higher in developing economies where children play a substantial role in harvesting and processing tobacco.
Symptoms of GTS include weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulty, abnormal temperature, pallor, diarrhoea, chills, fluctuations in blood pressure or heart rate, and increased perspiration and salivation1. These symptoms are generally self-limiting but may decrease productivity by increasing absenteeism from work.