Validity of self-reported smoking using urinary cotinine among vocational high school students

J Prev Med Public Health. 2009 Jul;42(4):223-30. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2009.42.4.223.


Objectives: This study was conducted to validate self-reported smoking among high school students using urinary cotinine.

Methods: A self report of smoking behavior was collected together with urine sample for cotinine analysis from 130 male and female students in two vocational high school students in November, 2007. Validity and agreement between self-reported smoking and urinary cotinine was analyzed with STATA 9.0 for different definitions of current smokers, and frequent and daily smokers. Urinary cotinine concentration was measured by the DRI Cotinine Assay for urine (Microgenics Corp., Fremont, CA) on Toshiba 200FR. The cut-off point of urinary cotinine was 50 ng/dl.

Results: The concentrations of urinary cotinine were significantly different according to the frequency and amount of smoking. Sensitivity and specificity was 90.9% and 91.8% respectively, and the Cohen's kappa value was 0.787 among the current smokers who smoked at least one day during one month preceding the survey. The comparable high sensitivity, specificity, and kappa value were shown also among the other definitions of current smokers, that is, subjective smokers, and weekly smokers.

Conclusions: The results showed the high validity of self-reported smoking among high school students. However, due to the small sample size and limitation of the participants, it is cautious to generalize the results to overall high school students.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Self Disclosure
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / urine*
  • Students


  • Cotinine