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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hand Nicotine and Cotinine In Children Exposed to Cigars: A Pilot Study



Past research has not examined secondhand and thirdhand smoke (THS) exposure in children of cigar smokers. We examined hand nicotine and cotinine levels in children of cigar smokers to explore the contribution of cigar smoke to tobacco smoke exposure (TSE).


Participants were children (N = 24; mean (SD) age = 6.5 (3.6) years) whose parents smoked cigars only or poly-used cigars and/or cigarettes. Primary outcomes were hand nicotine and urinary cotinine levels.


All children had detectable hand nicotine (range: 7.6-312.5ng/wipe) and cotinine (range: 0.3-100.3ng/ml). Positive correlations were found between hand nicotine and cotinine (r = 0.693, p = .001), hand nicotine and parents who also smoked cigarettes (r = 0.407, p = .048), and hand nicotine and number of smokers around the child (r = 0.436, p = .03). Hand nicotine (r = -0.464, p = .02), but not cotinine (r = -0.266, p = .26), was negatively correlated with child age. Multiple regression results indicated a positive association between hand nicotine and cotinine (p = .002; semi-partial r2 = 0.415), irrespective of child age.


The significant association of hand nicotine with urinary cotinine suggests that THS pollution should be assessed in evaluating children's overall TSE to cigars and other tobacco products, and hand nicotine may be a proxy for overall TSE. Younger children may have increased THS pollutant uptake.

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