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June 22, 1994

Hair Nicotine and Cotinine in Women and Newborn Infants-Reply

Author Affiliations

Hospital for Sick Children Toronto, Ontario

JAMA. 1994;271(24):1904-1905. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510480028017

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In Reply.  —The difference between mean hair concentrations of nicotine in babies of nonsmokers (0.4 ng/mg) and passive smokers (0.28 ng/mg) was not statistically significant. Conversely, the difference in levels of cotinine was highly significant. As our study indicates, cotinine is a more accurate marker of exposure because of its substantially longer elimination half-life.Low exposure to nicotine is part of most people's diet, in the form of potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants, to mention a few. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is some nicotine in most samples. In addition, even in cases of "true" nonsmokers, none of us can escape all the nicotine that surrounds us.We have no problem with you enjoying your cigar, as long as no pregnant woman is around.

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