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Prev Med. 1994 Jan;23(1):35-9.

An evaluation of the relationship between self-report and biochemical measures of environmental tobacco smoke exposure.

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Miriam Hospital/Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI 02906.


To evaluate the relationship between self-reported exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and saliva cotinine concentrations, we studied 186 nonsmokers. Each participant completed an exposure questionnaire, kept a daily exposure diary for 7 days, and provided a saliva sample for cotinine analysis. Salivary cotinine concentrations were measured using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Of the volunteers, 30% lived with one or more smokers, and 84% were regularly exposed to smokers at work. Eighty-three percent of the volunteers had detectable saliva cotinine concentrations (> or = 0.5 ng/ml) (median = 1.1; range = 0.5-7.4 ng/ml). Cotinine concentrations were related to exposure in the household and at the workplace. Volunteers who lived with smokers had significantly higher cotinine levels (median = 1.0; range = < 0.5-7.4 ng/ml) than those who did not (median = < 0.5; range = < 0.5-4.7 ng/ml). Volunteers who reported regular exposure at work had higher cotinine levels (median = 0.8; range = < 0.5-7.4 ng/ml) than those who did not (median = < 0.5; range = < 0.5-3.0 ng/ml). Cotinine concentrations were predicted by a regression equation that included the number of smokers at home and work and the number of minutes of exposure recorded in the daily diary (r2 = 0.29).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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