Biomarkers of tobacco exposure or harm: application to clinical and epidemiological studies. 25-26 October 2001, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nicotine Tob Res. 2003 Jun;5(3):387-96. doi: 10.1080/1462220031000094222.


Adverse outcomes from tobacco use may take decades to develop. Biomarkers are measures that can be used in the early stages of tobacco use to assess exposure to tobacco toxins or to predict adverse health outcomes with which they are associated. Examples of biomarkers include specific chemical components of tobacco or their metabolites; early biochemical, histological, or physiological effects; and early health effects. Mechanistically relevant and quantitatively valid biomarkers are essential for assessing the ultimate impact of new products, treatments, preventive measures, and public health policies on tobacco-related disease. The tobacco industry's recent introduction of a variety of new tobacco products or devices with implied claims of reduced health risks highlights the need to develop methods for assessing their potential for benefit or harm. A wide variety of biomarkers for tobacco exposure or harm has been studied. Although many questions about their use remain unanswered, substantial data exist regarding their validity and utility. This conference reviewed both the general issues surrounding biomarker use and the current state of knowledge regarding the most widely studied and promising biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Epidemiologic Studies*
  • Ganglionic Stimulants / analysis
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Hemoglobins / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Alkaloids
  • Biomarkers
  • Ganglionic Stimulants
  • Hemoglobins
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine