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Relation of urinary cotinine concentrations to cigarette smoking and to exposure to other people's smoke.
  1. S G Thompson,
  2. R Stone,
  3. K Nanchahal,
  4. N J Wald
  1. Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital, London.


    The relation of urinary cotinine measurements to tobacco consumption in smokers and to exposure to other people's smoke in non-smokers was studied in 49 smokers and 184 reported non-smokers attending a health screening centre. The median urinary cotinine concentration was 1623 ng/ml in the smokers and 6.1 ng/ml in the non-smokers. In smokers the average urinary cotinine concentration increased with reported habitual cigarette consumption; in non-smokers it increased with the reported total seven day duration of exposure to other people's tobacco smoke. Cotinine concentrations were approximately three times higher in non-smokers living with a spouse or partner who was a smoker than in those living with a non-smoker; their reported duration of exposure to tobacco smoke was also three times higher. Non-smoking subjects who were exposed to any tobacco smoke and who lived with a smoker reported 70% of their exposure to be at home (56% for men and 86% for women); the men reported more exposure at work than non-smoking men who lived with a non-smoker. This study confirms the relation of urinary cotinine to stated tobacco smoke exposure in both smokers and non-smokers and further validates the use of information on the smoking habits of the spouse or partner as a measure of tobacco smoke exposure in epidemiological studies of non-smokers.

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