Elimination of cotinine from body fluids: disposition in smokers and nonsmokers

Am J Public Health. 1989 Aug;79(8):1046-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.79.8.1046.


We have evaluated differences in the elimination of cotinine, a major nicotine metabolite, in smokers who quit smoking and never-smokers who were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) under controlled conditions. The mean biological half-life of cotinine in urine, collected from the nine smokers was 16.5 +/- 1.2 h, in never-smokers exposed to ETS, 27.3 +/- 1.9 h. Differences in the mode of uptake and absorption of nicotine and possible differences in nicotine metabolism may play roles in the clearance rate differences between smokers and nonsmokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cotinine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / metabolism
  • Pyrrolidinones / pharmacokinetics*
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine