Urinary cotinine levels and environmental tobacco smoke in mothers and children of Romania, Portugal and Poland within the European human biomonitoring pilot study

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Ioana-Rodica Lupsa, Baltazar Nunes, Danuta Ligocka, Anca Elena Gurzau, Marek Jakubowski, Ludwine Casteleyn, Dominique Aerts, Pierre Biot, Elly Den Hond, Argelia Castaño, Marta Esteban, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, Ulrike Fiddicke, Lisbeth E. Knudsen, Greet Schoeters, M Fátima Reis

The aim of this study was to explore data from the DEMOCOPHES study population for Romania, Portugal and Poland, in order to assess smoking patterns and the extent of ETS exposure and compare the national study samples with reference to the respective anti-smoking laws. The subset of the DEMOCOPHES study sample consisted of 360 children and their mothers (120 in each of the three countries - Romania (RO), Portugal (PT) and Poland (PL). Smoking was assessed using a detailed questionnaire for the participants, which addresses both active and passive smoking.

This assessment uses exposure-relevant questionnaire data, in particular on the home environment and residence, socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle such as nutrition, smoking behavior, other exposure-relevant behavior and occupational history, as well as urinary cotinine and creatinine measurements. We performed general statistical analysis and innovative receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses.

Smoking prevalence as evaluated by the questionnaire was generally high, and higher than official statistics, which suggests some under-reporting in the countries, particularly in Romania. Urinary cotinine levels provided biochemical confirmation of the high and similar smoking prevalence for the three countries. Concerning ETS exposure, Romania presented significantly higher levels, for children as well as for non-smoking mothers, with Portugal showing significantly lower levels. Compared to non-smoking mothers, the children showed relatively higher ETS exposure levels in all three countries.

The established country-specific optimal cut-off values in urinary cotinine to distinguish smokers from non-smokers vary more than those to discriminate ETS exposure extent in non-smoking mothers and children. Although different between countries, these values are a valuable output to monitor effectiveness of both national antismoking laws and educational programs in the three countries.

The findings of this study point to the urgent need for stronger, more effective and well enforced smoke-free legislation in the three countries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume141
Pages (from-to)106-117
Number of pages12
ISSN0013-9351
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

ID: 137755878