Assessing exposures to environmental tobacco smoke

Risk Anal. 1990 Mar;10(1):19-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1990.tb01016.x.


The combustion of tobacco indoors results in the emission of a wide range of air contaminants that are associated with a variety of acute and chronic health and comfort effects. Exposures to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) are assessed for epidemiologic studies and risk assessment and risk management applications. An individual's or population's exposure to ETS can be assessed by direct methods, which employ personal air monitoring and biomarkers, and indirect methods, which utilize various degrees of microenvironmental measurements of spaces, models, and questionnaires in combination with time-activity information. The major issues related to assessing exposures to ETS are summarized and discussed, including the physical-chemical nature of ETS air contaminants, use of proxy air contaminants to represent ETS, use of biomarkers, models for estimating ETS concentrations indoors, and the application of questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nicotiana*
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Smoke
  • Nicotine