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Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 Jun;11(6):670-8. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntp048. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

Evaluation of the accuracy of self-reported smoking in pregnancy when the biomarker level in an active smoker is uncertain.

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1
Community and Occupational Medicine Program, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, 13-103E Clinical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G3, Canada. iburstyn@ualberta.ca

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Our main objective was to estimate smoking prevalence as well as sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of self-reported smoking among pregnant women in Edmonton, Canada, at 15-16 weeks of gestation.

METHODS:

We used serum samples to assemble a cohort of pregnant women who underwent an optional second-trimester screening for chromosomal and developmental anomalies. We determined cotinine concentrations for 92 self-reported smokers (11% of the cohort) and for 285 self-reported nonsmoking mothers, using adapted urinary cotinine assay. Self-reports were collected at the time of delivery. In a validation study, serum cotinine was determined for known smokers and nonsmokers and used, within a Bayesian statistical framework, to define the distribution of cutoffs that differentiate true smokers from nonsmokers. This distribution of cutoffs was used to construct multiple two-by-two tables to obtain the distribution of sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and prevalence.

RESULTS:

Sensitivity was poor (M = 47.4%, SD = 17.3%), but specificity was nearly perfect (M = 94.9%, SD = 1.1%). PPV (M = 66.6%, SD = 11.7%) was smaller than NPV (M = 84.7%, SD = 14.3%). In our sample, the prevalence of true smoking at 15-16 weeks of gestation was described by a skewed distribution with a mean of 21.6% (SD = 13.8%) and a median of 16.6%.

DISCUSSION:

The strength of the present study includes blinding of subjects to the intention to test their sera for a biomarker of smoking. A limitation was the use of a nonrandom sample restricted to pregnancies that resulted in live births. We discuss data collection methods that would elicit more accurate smoking histories from pregnant women.

PMID:
19395685
DOI:
10.1093/ntr/ntp048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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