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Laryngoscope. 2001 Jan;111(1):163-7.

Evaluation of the effect of passive smoking on otitis media in children by an objective method: urinary cotinine analysis.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Instanbul Muncipality Hospital, Turkey.



We aimed to determine objectively the effect of the passive smoking on otitis media with effusion (OME) and recurrent otitis media (ROM) by using the method of cotinine urinalysis.


We designed a prospective case-control study with follow-up of the case group for 1 year after insertion of tympanostomy tubes to evaluate postoperative complications such as otorrhea and early extrusion (<6 months), in case a significant risk factor was found.


One hundred fourteen children between 3 and 8 years of age requiring tympanostomy tubes because of OME and ROM were chosen and compared with 40 age-matched children. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was assessed by cotinine urinalysis, which was performed by means of the radioimmunoassay method.


In this study, 73.7% (84 of 114) of the children in the case group and 55.0% (22 of 40) of the children in the control group were found to be "exposed" (P = .0461). This difference was statistically significant. Comparing the cotinine urinalysis results with parental smoking histories, 23.1% (9 of 39) of the children without parental smoking histories were "exposed" to tobacco smoke versus 84.3% (97 of 115) of the children with parental smoking histories (at least one person smoking).


Our results indicate that sidestream smoking increases the risk of OME and ROM. Legal regulations and guidelines must be established to protect children from passive smoking. Because cotinine urinalysis is a noninvasive and reliable method for the determination of passive smoking, it can be used for that purpose.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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