Association of Maternal Smoking With Child Cotinine Levels

Stiby, Alexander I.; Macleod, John; Hickman, Matthew; Yip, Vikki L.; Timpson, Nicholas J.; Munafò, Marcus R.
December 2013
Nicotine & Tobacco Research;Dec2013, Vol. 15 Issue 12, p2029
Academic Journal
Introduction: Our aim was to understand the strength of association between parental smoking and child environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in order to inform the development of future tobacco control policies. ETS was measured using child cotinine levels below the active smoking threshold. Methods: Participants were drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and included 3,128 participants at age 7 years and 1,868 participants at age 15 years. The primary outcome was cotinine levels of nonsmoking children, to investigate the relationship between maternal smoking and child cotinine levels. The secondary outcome was cotinine levels of all individuals to investigate the relationship between child smoking and child cotinine levels. Maternal and child smoking behavior was assessed by self-report questionnaire. We adjusted for several sociodemographic variables. Results: We found an association between maternal smoking and child cotinine at age 7 years (mean cotinine = 1.16ng/ml serum, ratio of geometric means = 3.94, 95% CI = 2.86–5.42) and at age 15 years (mean cotinine = 0.94ng/ml serum, ratio of geometric means = 5.26, 95% CI = 3.06–9.03), after adjustment for potential confounders. Conclusions: The magnitude of this association for children whose mothers were heavy smokers was comparable with the quantity of half the levels of cotinine observed among children who were irregular (i.e., nonweekly) active smokers, and it was greater than five times higher than that seen in nonsmoking children whose mothers didn’t smoke. This provides further evidence for the importance of public health interventions to reduce smoking exposure in the home.


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