Validation of self-reported smoking by analysis of hair for nicotine and cotinine

Chrisoula Eliopoulos, Julia Klein, Gideon Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Evidence suggesting the use of self-reports as an index of systemic exposure to cigarette smoke in selected study populations is highly inaccurate. In order to assess the use of hair analysis as a biochemical marker of cigarette smoking, we compared measurements of nicotine and cotinine in the hair and plasma of 36 volunteers whose reports of smoking were deemed to be reliable. A significant correlation was observed between the number of cigarettes smoked and hair measurements of nicotine (r = 0.48, p = 0.004) and cotinine (r = 0.57, p = 0.0008). In addition, a good correlation was found between the reported number of cigarettes smoked and plasma nicotine, plasma cotinine, and carboxyhemoglobin levels. These results suggest that hair analysis is a reliable noninvasive method of determining human exposure to cigarette smoke and is comparable to blood analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-536
Number of pages5
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cotinine
  • Hair
  • Nicotine
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking


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