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QuickStats: Median Serum Cotinine Levels in Nonsmokers, by Age Group --- National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), United States,1988--1991 through 2001--2002

* NHANES III was conducted in two phases: October 1988--September 1991 and October 1991--September 1994. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm.

Cotinine is a metabolite only of nicotine. Among nonsmokers, the presence of cotinine in serum indicates exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. From 1988--1991 through 2001--2002, median serum cotinine levels decreased by 74% in children aged 4--11 years, 79% in persons aged 12--19 years, and 83% in persons aged >20 years, suggesting a substantial reduction in the exposure of the U.S. population to secondhand tobacco smoke.

SOURCE: Pirkle JL, Bernert JT, Caudill SP, Sosnoff CS, Pechacek TF. Trends in the exposure of nonsmokers in the U.S. population to secondhand smoke: 1988--2002. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:853--8.

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Date last reviewed: 10/19/2006

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