Table 1

Main studies published on hair nicotine and cotinine levels in relation to reported exposure

StudyYearCountryNumber of subjects (smoking status)Corresponding nicotine levels (ng/mg hair)Corresponding cotinine levelsMean age (range)Analytical method and sensitivity (ng/mg hair)Other resultsType of study and subjects
GC/MS, gas chromatography with mass spectrophotometry; G mean, geometric mean; HPLC-ECD, high performance liquid chromatography with electro chemical detection; ND, no detection; RIA, radioimmunoassay.
Kintz6092France31(non-smokers)Range: 0.06–1.820.01–0.13(17–69)GC/MS; 0.005 nicotine; 0.01 cotinineVolunteers
56 (smokers)Range: 0.91–38.270.09–4.99
Kintz et al5892France22 (non-exposed, passive)Range: 0.06–1.820.01–0.13(7–66)GC/MS; 0.01 nicotine; 0.01 cotinineVolunteers
Range: 0.54–1.820.01–0.13
42 (smokers)Range: 0.91–33.890.09–4.99
Kintz & Mangin6893France40 (in utero exposure)Range: 0.11–11.8NewbornGC/MS; 0.01 nicotiner=0.83 (neonate to mother nicotine)Delivery unit
40 (smokers)Range: 0.37–63.5Mothers
Zahlsen et al2194Norway7 (non-smokers)Mean: 0.874 years (25–64)GC/MS; 0.05 nicotineVolunteer
13 (smokers)Mean: 42.4
Eliopoulus et al2394Canada35 (non-exposed mother, newborn)Mean: 1.2, 0.4 (mother, newborn)0.3, 0.261–3 day old newborns and their mothersRIA; 0.25 nicotine; 0.1 cotinineNewborn nurseries
23 (passive mother, newborn)Mean: 3.2, 0.28 (mother, newborn)0.9, 0.6
36 (smokers mother, newborn)Mean: 19.2, 2.4 (mother, newborn)6.3, 2.8
Nafstad et al195Norway19 (non-exposed)Median: 0.712–36 months infantsGC/MS; 0.05 nicotiner=0.64 (nicotine to cigarettes); r=0.56 (nicotine to urine cotinine)Child health centre
34 (low passive)Median: 2.4
19 (high passive)Median: 8.7
Eliopoulus et al296Canada36 (smokers)Mean: 19.911.72Adults (20–36)RIA; 0.5 nicotine; 0.25 cotininer=0.48 (nicotine to cigarettes)Volunteers
Pichini et al497Italy10 (non-exposed)Mean: 1.3NDInfants (3–36 months)HPLC; 0.2 nicotine; 0.1 cotininep=0.01 for difference between low and high passiveNursery school
7 (low passive)Mean: 6.8ND
7 (high passive)Mean: 15.40.89
Nafstad et al2097Norway24 (non-smoker mother, child)Median: ∼2; ∼2 (child)1–3 year old child and their mothersGC/MS; 0.05 nicotiner=0.69 (nicotine to cigarettes)Child health centre
69 (smoking mother, child)Median: 19.6; 5 (child)
Dimich-Ward et al5997Canada8 (non-exposed)G mean: 0.1<0.0135 years (22–52)GC/MS; 0.03 nicotine; 0.01 cotininep=0.019 for difference in nicotine levels; p=0.46 for cotinineSelected hospitality workers
8 (low passive)G mean: 0.340.013
5 (high passive)G mean: 1.03<0.01
5 (smokers)G mean: 1.190.02
Sovik et al6999Norway16 (non-exposed)Median: 0.72NewbornGC/MS; 0.01 nicotineAt 10 weeks of age; r=0.63 nicotine to cig of mother (at 10 weeks: median 2.15 non-exposed; median 8.66 exposed)Case control study of oxygen sensitivity
15 (intrauterine exposed)Median 0.76
Al-Delaimy et al2400New Zealand23 (non-exposed)Median: ND0.025Children 3 months to 10 yearsRIA; 0.1 nicotine; 0.05 cotinineMedian nicotine: 0.49 (child), 3.02 mother. Median cotinine: 0.07 (child), 0.17 (mother)Cross sectional survey of hospital children
48 (1 smoker at home)Median: 0.280.038
29 (2 smokers at home)Median: 1.460.156
12 (>2 smokers at home)Median: 2.020.10
Al-Delaimy et al2801New Zealand13 (no exposure)Median: 0.62Median 24 years (15–53)HPLC-ECD; 0.1 nicotiner=0.48 nicotine to number of cigarettes smoked; p<0.001 in relation ETS exposureCross sectional bars and restaurant staff
43 (50% passive)Median: 2.72
13 (100% passive)Median: 6.69
45 (smoker)Median: 7.92
Al-Delaimy et al2601New Zealand101 (no exposure)G mean: 0.583–27 monthsHPLC-ECD; 0.1 nicotiner=0.7 nicotine to number of cigarettes smokedCross sectional hospital children
69 (smoking out)G mean: 2.63
127 (smoking in)G mean: 5.62