Introduction: In the United States, race/ethnicity is a strong determinant of tobacco use patterns, biomarkers of tobacco smoke components and metabolites, and likelihood of successful cessation. Although Black smokers tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than White smokers, they have higher cotinine levels and disease risk and lower cessation success. We examined racial differences in hair nicotine concentrations among daily tobacco smokers (n = 103) in Baltimore, Maryland. Methods: Participants completed a survey, and hair samples were collected and analyzed for nicotine concentration using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Results: After adjustment, hair nicotine concentrations among Black smokers were more than 5 times higher than among White smokers (95% CI 3.0, 10.5). Smokers reporting hair treatments other than coloring (bleaching, permanent, or straightening) in the past 12 months had 66% lower (95% CI 32%, 83%) hair nicotine concentrations. Smokers reporting smoking their first cigarette within 30 min of waking had twice the hair nicotine concentrations of those whose time to first cigarette was greater than 30 min after waking (95% CI 1.1, 4.2). For every additional cigarette smoked per day up to 20, mean hair nicotine concentration among all smokers increased by 4% (95% CI -1%, 9%). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that Black smokers have substantially higher hair nicotine levels than White smokers, after controlling for cigarettes smoked per day and other exposure sources. Time to first cigarette, cigarettes smoked per day, and use of hair treatments other than coloring were also associated with hair nicotine concentrations among smokers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health