The complex composition of secondhand smoke (SHS) provides a range of constituents that can be measured in environmental samples (air, dust and on surfaces) and therefore used to assess non-smokers' exposure to tobacco smoke. Monitoring SHS exposure (SHSe) in indoor environments provides useful information on the extent and consequences of SHSe, implementing and evaluating tobacco control programmes and behavioural interventions, and estimating overall burden of disease caused by SHSe. The most widely used markers have been vapour-phase nicotine and respirable particulate matter (PM). Numerous other environmental analytes of SHS have been measured in the air including carbon monoxide, 3-ethenylpyridine, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, nitrogen oxides, aldehydes and volatile organic compounds, as well as nicotine in dust and on surfaces. The measurement of nicotine in the air has the advantage of reflecting the presence of tobacco smoke. While PM measurements are not as specific, they can be taken continuously, allowing for assessment of exposure and its variation over time. In general, when nicotine and PM are measured in the same setting using a common sampling period, an increase in nicotine concentration of 1 μg/m3 corresponds to an average increase of 10 μg/m3 of PM. This topic assessment presents a comprehensive summary of SHSe monitoring approaches using environmental markers and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these methods and approaches.
- Secondhand smoke exposure
- environmental monitoring
- particulate matter
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Funding This work was supported by grants from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute to the Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence; the University of California, San Francisco Bland Lane Center of Excellence; and the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B Richmond Center of Excellence. The funding organisation had no role in the preparation of the manuscripts.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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