Differential exposure biomarker levels among cigarette smokers and smokeless tobacco consumers in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2008

Biomarkers. 2011 May;16(3):222-35. doi: 10.3109/1354750X.2010.546013. Epub 2011 Feb 25.


Assessment of biomarkers is an appropriate way to estimate exposure to cigarette mainstream smoke and smokeless tobacco (SLT) constituents in tobacco consumers. Using the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2008), biomarkers of volatile organic compounds, halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (HAHs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), acrylamide, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), and metals were evaluated. In general, biomarker levels in SLT consumers were significantly lower than in smokers (excluding NNK and some HAHs) and were not significantly different compared with nonconsumers (excluding NNK and some PAHs). These results provide useful information for science-based risk assessment and regulation of tobacco products.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Butanones / urine
  • Cotinine / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Halogenated / blood
  • Male
  • Metals / blood
  • Metals / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / urine
  • Smoking / blood*
  • Smoking / urine
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / metabolism*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Butanones
  • Hydrocarbons, Halogenated
  • Metals
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Cotinine