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Researchers Identify Involuntary Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Boston Public Housing Authority Residents with Salivary Cotinine Testing from Salimetrics.
Date:1/31/2013

(PRWEB) January 31, 2013

Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital recently conducted a study of residents living in Boston public housing to assess tobacco smoke exposure. This pilot study found a detectable level of cotinine, the nicotine metabolite, in 88% of non-smoking children and adults. Significantly lower cotinine levels were found among residents in houses with strict no-smoking policies (0.40 ng/mL vs 1.07 ng/mL, p=0.006). The Boston Housing Authority has since become the nation’s largest urban housing authority to adopt a comprehensive no-smoking policy, banning smoking in all of its 11,000 units in October 2012 (Rocheleau, 2012). A more in-depth study will focus on smoking rules for public housing authorities.

Previous studies on secondhand smoke exposure have often relied on self-reported levels, but problems with memory or false reporting are thought to have affected the validity of these studies’ findings. To determine each resident’s level of smoke exposure in this study, researchers collected a saliva sample in conjunction with a written survey. Using saliva analysis though the Salimetrics Testing Laboratory (State College, PA), Dr. Douglas Levy, Dr. Nancy Rigotti and Dr. Jonathan Winickoff were able to quantitatively assess salivary cotinine levels and tobacco smoke exposure among non-smoking residents of the Boston Housing Authority. The measurement of cotinine in saliva allows researchers to accurately quantify the amount of smoke exposure without the need to draw blood.

When nicotine from tobacco smoke is inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream where the principle metabolite produced in the liver is cotinine. Cotinine diffuses easily from blood into saliva, and salivary and blood levels are highly correlated. Cotinine in saliva has a longer half-life than nicotine (more than 10 hours), and t
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