Environmental tobacco smoke exposure during infancy

Am J Public Health. 1990 Oct;80(10):1205-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.10.1205.


We collected information about household smoking habits from 518 mothers when they made their first well child visit with a 6 to 8-week old infant. A urine sample was also collected from the infant, the cotinine concentration measured, and the measurement correlated with data provided by the mother. Eight percent of the infant urine cotinine values fell at or above 10 micrograms/L in the 305 households where no smoking was reported. Corresponding rates were 44 percent in the 96 households where a member other than the mother smoked, 91 percent in the 43 households where only the mother smoked, and 96 percent in the 74 households where both the mother and another household member smoked. In households where the mother smoked, infant urine cotinine levels were lower in the summer, and higher when the infant was breast-fed. A screening question about family smoking habits in conjunction with well child care could effectively define a group of infants exposed to environmental tobacco smoke and thus be at greater risk for respiratory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care*
  • Mothers
  • Pyrrolidinones / urine*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Seasons
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Cotinine