Accurate and reliable measurements of exposure to tobacco products are essential for identifying and confirming patterns of tobacco product use and for assessing their potential biological effects in both human populations and experimental systems. Due to the introduction of new tobacco-derived products and the development of novel ways to modify and use conventional tobacco products, precise and specific assessments of exposure to tobacco are now more important than ever. Biomarkers that were developed and validated to measure exposure to cigarettes are being evaluated to assess their use for measuring exposure to these new products. Here, we review current methods for measuring exposure to new and emerging tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes, little cigars, water pipes, and cigarillos. Rigorously validated biomarkers specific to these new products have not yet been identified. Here, we discuss the strengths and limitations of current approaches, including whether they provide reliable exposure estimates for new and emerging products. We provide specific guidance for choosing practical and economical biomarkers for different study designs and experimental conditions. Our goal is to help both new and experienced investigators measure exposure to tobacco products accurately and avoid common experimental errors. With the identification of the capacity gaps in biomarker research on new and emerging tobacco products, we hope to provide researchers, policymakers, and funding agencies with a clear action plan for conducting and promoting research on the patterns of use and health effects of these products.
Keywords: NNAL; biomarker; cotinine; exposure; tobacco.