Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer

Persons using assistive technology might not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please send e-mail to: Type 508 Accommodation and the title of the report in the subject line of e-mail.

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

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.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the electronic PDF version and/or the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to

Date last reviewed: 10/19/2006


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A


Department of Health
and Human Services