Application of biochemical intake markers to passive smoking measurement and risk estimation

Mutat Res. 1989 Feb;222(2):101-10. doi: 10.1016/0165-1218(89)90023-2.


Measurement of the dose received from passive smoking complements epidemiological approaches and may provide an alternative method of estimating risk. Non-smokers absorb measurable amounts of nicotine from breathing other people's smoke, and dose-response relationships are apparent. On the basis of the limited data so far available, the dose of nicotine received by the average British non-smoker may represent about 0.5% of that of the heavy cigarette smoker, ranging up to 2% in more heavily exposed individuals. The dose of carbon monoxide appears relatively greater, as does that of tobacco-specific nitrosamines. The situation with respect to tar is unclear, but nicotine may provide a better guide than does CO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Cotinine / analysis*
  • Cotinine / blood
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotine / urine
  • Pyrrolidinones / analysis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution* / adverse effects


  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Cotinine