Involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke in adolescents: urinary cotinine and environmental factors

Arch Environ Health. Mar-Apr 1996;51(2):127-31. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1996.9936005.


The relationship between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and urinary cotinine was studied in 434 14-y-old schoolchildren. To estimate the independent contribution of physiological and environmental variables to cotinine concentrations, we conducted a multiple regression analysis of log-transformed cotinine (R(2) = .21, p < .0001). Environmental tobacco smoke exposure was associated with sharing a household with members who smoked. The most profound associations were linked to (a) the smoking habits of the mother (beta = 5.135, p = .0397); (b) the combined smoking habits of the mother and other family members (beta = 8.201, p = .0020); and (c) the total number cigarettes smoked each day by family members in the household (beta = 0.217, p = .0008). Passive smoke exposure of adolescents is a preventable risk that could be reduced by improving ventilation and by increasing the living space available to each family member. Parents should avoid smoking at home in the presence of their children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Cotinine / urine*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine
  • Cotinine