Association between creatinine-adjusted and unadjusted urine cotinine values in children and the mother's report of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke

Clin Biochem. 1995 Aug;28(4):415-20. doi: 10.1016/0009-9120(94)00092-a.


Objective: To examine the association between parents' report of their child's secondhand smoke exposure and various adjustments of cotinine concentrations in random urine samples.

Methods: Urine cotinine and creatinine were measured in 109 six to 11-year-old children from predominantly upper middle-class families. Cotinine values were considered as: (a) unadjusted, (b) as a cotinine/creatinine ratio, (c) as adjusted based on a regression relationship between cotinine and creatinine, and (d) and (e) as a cotinine/creatinine ratio adjusted for age and sex.

Results: Little overlap in cotinine values occurred between exposed and nonexposed children, and a dose-response relationship was noted between the parental report and the urine cotinine values (r = 0.67). A modest improvement occurred in the correlation when the cotinine/creatinine ratio was considered. Considering exposure to cigarette smoke outside the home as well as in the household only improved the correlation when the former exposure was heavy. A high degree of concordance exists between the parents' report of exposure and the child's urine cotinine.

Conclusions: The value of adjusting this biochemical parameter by various means may be a function of the particular sample being investigated, suggesting no one method is universally appropriate.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cotinine / chemistry
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Creatinine / chemistry*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Fluorescence Polarization Immunoassay / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Creatinine
  • Cotinine