The level of nickel in smoker's blood and urine

Cent Eur J Public Health. 2004 Dec;12(4):187-9.


General population is exposed to nickel from various sources. Smoking presents a significant form of exposure. The research was conducted in period 2000--2003 in Institute of Public Health in Nis. The samples of tobacco and cigarettes (127 samples) were both domestic and imported, and samples of biological material (123 blood samples and 147 urine samples) were taken from occupationally unexposed persons (smokers and non-smokers). The analyses were performed by electrothermal atomization technique, by Perkin Elmer AAS M-1100. The results obtained, revealed a high content of nickel in cigarettes (2.32-4.20 mg/kg) and in tobacco (2.20-4.91 mg/kg) regardless of the kind and the origin of tobacco. Nickel content in the blood of smokers (0.01-0.42 microg/l, median 0.07 microg/l) was higher than in the blood of non-smokers (0.01-0.26 microg/l, median 0.06 microg/l) although this difference was not statistically significant (p>0.05). In the urine of smokers (<0.01-8.20 microg/l, median 1.20 microg/l) there was a significantly higher concentration of nickel than in the urine of non-smokers (<0.01-4.60 microg/l, median 0.50 microg/l), p<0.05. The exposure of smokers to nickel through tobacco smoke was high regardless of the kind and the origin of tobacco and cigarettes. The content of nickel in tissue fluids established by biomonitoring shows that smokers can be far more exposed to this carcinogenic substance than non-smokers and that health risks for smokers are higher in this context.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Nickel / blood*
  • Nickel / urine*
  • Risk
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / metabolism
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Nickel