We have developed an assay for nicotine in hair based on reversed-phase HPLC with electrochemical detection. The method uses a low-metal, high-purity silica reversed-phase column. We have investigated the washing, digestion and extraction procedures and discuss the important points in the HPLC method development. The assay is presented as an application in a population of exposed and non-exposed children. Analytical parameters are satisfactory with linearity, recoveries, limit of quantitation and precision all suitable for epidemiological studies involving environmental tobacco smoke exposure assessment.