Nicotine concentration in the hair of nonsmoking mothers and size of offspring

Am J Public Health. 1998 Jan;88(1):120-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.1.120.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to estimate the risk of small-for-gestational-age birth by levels of nicotine in the hair of mothers and offspring.

Methods: In a sample of 58 case subjects and 105 control subjects, hair nicotine concentrations were measured by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Results: With women whose hair nicotine concentrations were in the lowest quartile as the reference group, the odds ratio (OR) for small-for-gestational-age birth was increased among women with concentrations in the upper and two middle quartiles (OR=4.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.5, 11.5, and OR = 3.2, 95% CI=1.3, 8.0). When smoking mothers were excluded from the analysis, the corresponding odds ratios were 2.1 (95% CI=0.4, 10.1) and 3.4 (95 % CI= 1.3, 8.6).

Conclusions: The results suggest that passive maternal smoking increases the risk of small-for-gestational-age births.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine