IntroductionThe high prevalence of smoking and smokeless tobacco (ST) use during pregnancy in Alaska Native (AN) women is concerning due to the detrimental effects of these products to the mother and the developing fetus. We sought to correlate maternal cotinine levels with fetal exposure to a tobacco-specific carcinogen to incorporate in a biomarker feedback intervention to motivate tobacco cessation during pregnancy.
MethodsDemographic and tobacco use data were collected from a convenience sample of pregnant AN smokers, ST users, and non-users. Maternal and neonatal urine were collected at delivery. Maternal urine cotinine and neonatal urine total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL, a tobacco-specific carcinogen) levels in smokers and ST users were analyzed and their correlations determined by Spearman correlation coefficients.
ResultsDuring 2012-2014, we enrolled 64 non-users, 54 smokers, and 30 ST (20 homemade iqmik; 10 commercial ST) users (n = 148). Analyses of paired maternal-infant urine samples obtained for 36 smokers demonstrated a moderate to strong correlation (r = 0.73, P < .001) between maternal cotinine and infant NNAL levels. The correlation was not significant for 25 iqmik users (r = 0.36, P = .17) or 9 commercial ST users (r = 0.60, P = .09). No analysis was conducted for 55 non-users with cotinine and NNAL levels < limits of quantification.
ConclusionsThere is a moderate to strong correlation between maternal smoking and fetal exposure to the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNAL.
ImplicationsThe correlation between maternal smoking and fetal carcinogen exposure may provide an education tool to help motivate smoking cessation among pregnant AN women. Further investigation is warranted to determine correlations between maternal commercial ST and iqmik use and neonatal NNAL.