Secondhand smoke and nicotine exposure: A brief review

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66 Scopus citations


Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure is linked to a number of adverse health outcomes. This paper reviews published studies examining nicotine levels related to exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Twenty-two field studies measuring biological levels of nicotine associated with secondhand tobacco smoke exposure were evaluated. Positive associations between self-reported and/or objective measures of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure and concentrations of nicotine and/or biomarkers of nicotine in the body were frequently reported. Two studies indicated that nicotine exposure from secondhand tobacco smoke can engender plasma nicotine concentrations that are equivalent to levels produced by tobacco smoking and that are associated with nicotine-induced changes in behavior. Future research should examine whether nicotine exposure from secondhand tobacco smoke has functional effects on neurobiological and behavioral processes associated with tobacco use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1977-1988
Number of pages12
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Behavior
  • Nicotine exposure
  • Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure
  • Tobacco smoke exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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