• nicotine;
  • hair;
  • secondhand smoke;
  • children;
  • gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References

The development of strategies to address the growing worldwide burden of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) would be facilitated by sensitive and accurate methods for assessing SHS exposure. Hair provides a readily available matrix for assessing biomarkers of typical SHS exposure. We developed and applied an optimized analytical method using an isotope dilution gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS) for hair nicotine measurement. The utility of this optimized method is illustrated by presenting data on SHS exposure of women and children from 31 countries. Using this isotope dilution method with spiked samples (3.3 ng/mg), we found that the greatest hair nicotine extraction efficiency was obtained with a 60 min shaking time. In the field study (n = 2400), a positive association was evident between hair nicotine concentrations from nonsmokers and higher numbers of cigarettes smoked per day in a household. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. References
  • Al-Delaimy WK, Crane J and Woodward A. Questionnaire and hair measurement of exposure to tobacco Smoke. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 2000; 10: 378384.
  • Al-Delaimy WK, Crane J and Woodward A. Is the hair nicotine level a more accurate biomarker of environmental tobacco smoke exposure than urine cotinine? Journal of Epidemiology. Community Health 2002; 56: 6671.
  • Benowitz NL. Cotinine as a biomarker of environmental tobacco smoke exposure. Epidemiology Review. 1996; 18: 188204.
  • Benowitz NL. Biomarkers of Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives 1999; 107(suppl. 2): 349355.
  • Chetiyanukornkul T, Toriba A, Kizu R, Kimura K and Hayakawa K. Hair analysis of nicotine and cotinine for evaluating tobacco smoke exposure by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Biomedical Chromatography 2004; 18: 655661.
  • Crooks PA and Byrd GD. Use of high-performance liquid chromatographic–mass spectrometric techniques for the determination of nicotine and its metabolites. In Analytical Determination of Nicotine and Related Compounds and Their Metabolites, Gorrod JW, Jacob PI (eds). Elsevier Science: Amsterdam, 1999; Chapter 7.
  • Coultas DB, Howard CA, Peake GT, Skipper BJ and Samet JM. Salivary cotinine levels and involuntary tobacco smoke exposure in children and adults in New Mexico. American Review of Respiratory Disease 1987; 136: 305309.
  • Delfino RJ, Ernst P, Jaakkola MS, Solomon S and Becklake MR. Questionnaire assessments of recent exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in relation to salivary cotinine. European Respiratory Journal 1993; 6: 11041108.
  • Eliopoulos C, Klein J, Phan MK, Knie B, Greenwald M, Chitayat D and Koren G. Hair concentrations of nicotine and cotinine in women and their newborn infants. JAMA 1994; 271: 621623.
  • Eliopoulos C, Klein J and Koren G. Validation of self-reported smoking by analysis of hair for nicotine and cotinine. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring 1996; 18: 532536.
  • Florescu A, Ferrence R, Einarson TR, Selby P, Kramer M, Woodruff S, Grossman L, Rankin A, Jacqz-Aigrain E and Koren G. Reference values for hair cotinine as a biomarker of active and passive smoking in women of reproductive age, pregnant women, children, and neonates: systematic review and meta-analysis. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring 2007; 4: 437446.
  • Gaffney KF, Molloy SB and Maradiegue AH. Questionnaires for the measurement of infant environmental tobacco smoke exposure: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Measurement 2003; 11: 225239.
  • Guerin MR, Jenkins RATomkins BA. The Chemistry of Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Composition and Measurement. Lewis: Chelsea, MI, 1992.
  • Hammond SK and Leaderer BP. A Diffusion monitor to measure exposure to passive smoking. Environmental Science and Technology 1987; 21: 494497.
  • IARC. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking. International Agency for Research on Cancer: Lyon, 1986; 38.
  • Jaakkola MS and Jaakkola JJ. Assessment of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. European Respiratory Journal 1997; 10: 23842397.
  • Jacob PI and Byrd GD. Use of gas chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques for the determination of nicotine and its metabolites. In Analytical Determination of Nicotine and Related Compounds and Their Metabolites, Gorrod JW, Jacob PI (eds). Elsevier Science: Amsterdam, 1999; Chapter 6.
  • Kintz P. Gas chromatographic analysis of nicotine and cotinine in hair. Journal of Chromatography 1992; 580: 347353.
  • Klein J and Koren G. Hair analysis—a biological marker for passive smoking in pregnancy and childhood. Human Experimental Toxicology 1999; 18: 279282.
  • Klepeis NE. An introduction to the indirect exposure assessment approach: modeling human exposure using microenvironmental measurements and the recent national human activity pattern survey. Environmental Health Perspectives 1999; 107(suppl. 2): 365374.
  • Kronstrand R, Nystrom I, Strandberg J and Druid H. Screening for drugs of abuse in hair with ion spray LC-MS-MS. Forensic Science International 2004; 145: 183190.
  • Leaderer BP. Assessing exposures to environmental tobacco smoke. Risk Analysis 1990; 10: 1926.
  • Mahoney GN and Al-Delaimy W. Measurement of nicotine in hair by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Journal of Chromatography B Biomedical Science Applications 2001; 753: 179187.
  • Miller JC and Miller JN. Errors in instrumental analysis: regression and correction. In Statistics for Analytical Chemistry, 2nd edn. Ellis Horwood: Chichester, 1988; Chapter 5.
  • Nafstad P, Botten G, Hagen JA, Zahlsen K, Nilsen OG, Silsand T and Kongerud J. Comparison of three methods for estimating environmental tobacco smoke exposure among children aged between 12 and 36 months. International Journal of Epidemiology 1995; 24: 8894.
  • NRC. Environmentalmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects. National Academy Press: Washington, DC, 1986.
  • Navas-Acien A, Peruga A, Breysse P, Zavaleta A, Blanco-Marquizo A, Pitarque R et al. Secondhand tobacco smoke in public places in Latin America, 2002–2003. JAMA 2004; 291: 27412745.
  • Pichini S, Altieri I, Pellegrini M, Pacifici R and Zuccaro P. Hair analysis for nicotine and cotinine: evaluation of extraction procedures, hair treatments, and development of reference material. Forensic Science International 1997a; 84: 243252.
  • Pichini S, Altieri I, Pellegrini M, Pacifici R and Zuccaro P. The analysis of nicotine in infants' hair for measuring exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Forensic Science International 1997b; 84: 253258.
  • Pichini S, Basagana XB, Pacifici R, Garcia O, Puig C, Vall O, Harris J, Zuccaro P, Segura J and Sunyer J. Cord serum cotinine as a biomarker of fetal exposure to cigarette smoke at the end of pregnancy. Environmental Health Perspectives 2000; 108: 10791083.
  • Pirkle JL, Bernert JT, Caudill SP, Sosnoff CS and Pechacek TF. Trends in the exposure of nonsmokers in the U.S. population to secondhand smoke: 1988–2002. Environmental Health Perspectives 2006; 114: 853858.
  • Repace JL, Hyde JN and Brugge D. Air pollution in Boston bars before and after a smoking ban. BMC Public Health 2006; 6: 266.
  • Seccareccia F, Zuccaro P, Pacifici R, Meli P, Pannozzo F, Freeman KM et al., Serum cotinine as a marker of environmental tobacco smoke exposure in epidemiological studies: the experience of the MATISS project. Eureopean Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 18: 487492.
  • Simoni M, Baldacci S, Puntoni R, Pistelli F, Farchi S, Lo PE, Pistelli R, Corbo G, Agabiti N, Basso S, Matteelli G, Di Pede F, Carrozzi L, Forastiere F and Viegi G. Plasma, salivary and urinary cotinine in non-smoker italian women exposed and unexposed to environmental tobacco smoking (SEASD Study). Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 2006; 44: 632638.
  • Sorensen M, Bisgaard H, Stage M and Loft S. Biomarkers of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in infants. Biomarkers 2007; 12: 3846.
  • Thaqi A, Franke K, Merkel G, Wichmann HE and Heinrich J. Biomarkers of exposure to passive smoking of school children: frequency and determinants. Indoor Air 2005; 15: 302310.
  • Torano JS and van Kan HJ. Simultaneous determination of the tobacco smoke uptake parameters nicotine, cotinine and thiocyanate in urine, saliva and hair, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for characterization of smoking status of recently exposed subjects. Analyst 2003; 128: 838843.
  • Uematsu T. Utilization of hair analysis for therapeutic drug monitoring with a special reference to ofloxacin and to nicotine. Forensic Sci. International 1993; 63: 261268.
  • US DHHS. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking. A Report of the Surgeon General. (CDC) 87-8398. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Health Promotion and Education, Office on Smoking and Health: Rockville, MD, 1986.
  • Warren CW, Jones NR, Eriksen MP and Asma S. Patterns of global tobacco use in young people and implications for future chronic disease burden in adults. Lancet 2006; 367: 749753.
  • Weaver VM, Buckley TJ and Groopman JD. Approaches to environmental exposure assessment in children. Environmental Health Perspectives 1998; 106(suppl. 3): 827832.
  • Willers S, Skarping G, Dalene M and Skerfving S. Urinary cotinine in children and adults during and after semiexperimental exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Archives of Environmental Health 1995; 50: 130138.
  • Wipfli H, Avila-Tang E, Navas-Acien A, Kim S, Onicescu G, Yuan J, Breysse J, Samet JM and the FAMRI Homes Study Investigators. Secondhand smoke exposure among women and children: evidence from 31 countries. American Journal of Public Health 2008; 98: 672679.
  • Zahlsen K and Nilsen OG. Nicotine in hair of smokers and non-smokers: sampling procedure and gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric analysis. Pharmacology and Toxicology 1994; 75: 143149.
Abbreviations used

gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


limit of detection


secondhand smoke