Measurement of nicotine in household dust

Environ Res. 2008 Nov;108(3):289-93. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Aug 27.


An analytical method of measuring nicotine in house dust was optimized and associations among three secondhand smoking exposure markers were evaluated, i.e., nicotine concentrations of both house dust and indoor air, and the self-reported number of cigarettes smoked daily in a household. We obtained seven house dust samples from self-reported nonsmoking homes and 30 samples from smoking homes along with the information on indoor air nicotine concentrations and the number of cigarettes smoked daily from an asthma cohort study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment. House dust nicotine was analyzed by isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Using our optimized method, the median concentration of nicotine in the dust of self-reported nonsmoking homes was 11.7 ng/mg while that of smoking homes was 43.4 ng/mg. We found a substantially positive association (r=0.67, P<0.0001) between house dust nicotine concentrations and the numbers of cigarettes smoked daily. Optimized analytical methods showed a feasibility to detect nicotine in house dust. Our results indicated that the measurement of nicotine in house dust can be used potentially as a marker of longer term SHS exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Maryland
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Smoking


  • Dust
  • Nicotine