Background: Characterizing and comparing the determinant of cotinine concentrations in different populations should facilitate a better understanding of smoking patterns and addiction. This study describes and characterizes determinants of salivary cotinine concentration in a sample of Spanish adult daily smoker men and women.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out between March 2004 and December 2005 in a representative sample of 1245 people from the general population of Barcelona, Spain. A standard questionnaire was used to gather information on active tobacco smoking and passive exposure, and a saliva specimen was obtained to determine salivary cotinine concentration. Two hundred and eleven adult smokers (>16 years old) with complete data were included in the analysis. Determinants of cotinine concentrations were assessed using linear regression models.
Results: Salivary cotinine concentration was associated with the reported number of cigarettes smoked in the previous 24 hours (R2 = 0.339; p < 0.05). The inclusion of a quadratic component for number of cigarettes smoked in the regression analyses resulted in an improvement of the fit (R2 = 0.386; p < 0.05). Cotinine concentration differed significantly by sex, with men having higher levels.
Conclusion: This study shows that salivary cotinine concentration is significantly associated with the number of cigarettes smoked and sex, but not with other smoking-related variables.