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Symptoms of long-term exposure to moxa smoke in acupuncturists: a correlation analysis

Author: Wang X, Yu C, Tang Y, Chang S, Yang H, Zhang He JZ, Zhang YY, Jiao Y, Zhuang ZQ, Yin HY, Zhang CS, Lü P, Wu QF, Yu SG
Page: 132

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of long-term exposure to moxa smoke on acupuncturists and to consider the association between physical symptoms and gender, age, secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, and the duration of exposure. METHODS: A self-report, web-based questionnaire was used to evaluate the effects of moxa smoke on acupuncturists. Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between physical symptoms and possible correlative factors. RESULTS: A total of 858 questionnaires were analyzed. The data showed that 42.42% of acupuncturists had been exposed to moxa smoke for 5-10 years. The most frequent symptom was tearing (32.98%) and the least frequent symptom was asthma (5.24%). Logistic regression analysis showed that female acupuncturists were slightly more susceptible to cough and tearing than males (cough: OR: 1.583, 95% CI: 1.079, 2.321, P = 0.019; tearing: OR: 1.519, 95% CI: 1.094, 2.108, P = 0.013). Acupuncturists aged over 25 years reported a slightly lower incidence of eye itchiness than those aged under 25 years (26-40 years: OR: 0.604, 95% CI: 0.379, 0.965, P = 0.035; over 40 years: OR: 0.330, 95% CI: 0.114, 0.958, P = 0.042). Ophthalmodynia occurred less in acupuncturists aged 26-40 years (OR: 0.591, 95% CI: 0.359, 0.970, P = 0.038) than in those younger than 25 years. The only association between prevalence of symptoms and tobacco use and SHS exposure was that smokers had a lower occurrence of phlegm in the throat (OR: 0.579, 95% CI: 0.392, 0.856, P = 0.006). Shortness of breath was less frequent in participants exposed to moxa smoke for more than 5 years (5-10 years: OR: 0.400, 95% CI: 0.204, 0.785, P = 0.008; 11-20 years: OR: 0.392, 95% CI: 0.178, 0.864, P = 0.02), but a slightly higher incidence of eye itchiness was found in those with over 20 years of moxa exposure (OR: 4.200, 95% CI: 1.344, 3.128, P = 0.014). CONCLUSION: The most frequent symptom of moxa smoke exposure in acupuncturists was tearing. The association of symptoms with age and duration of exposure to moxa smoke were rather complicated; hence, care should be taken in drawing conclusions about the safety of moxa smoke based solely on its potentially harmful ingredients.

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