45. Exposure to tobacco smoke and validation of smoking status during pregnancy in the MIREC Study (abstract)

Arbuckle TE, Liang CL, Fisher M, Caron NJ, Fraser WD, the MIREC Study Group. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2018 Jan 3. doi: 10.1038/s41370-017-0011-z

Given that prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke can lead to increased risks of adverse health effects, having valid measures of exposure is important. In a Canadian cohort (n = 2000), maternal and infant biospecimens were analysed for cotinine. Sensitivity and specificity of self-reported active smoking status were estimated. Regression modelling was used to identify potential predictors of maternal and infant plasma cotinine in non-smoking women. During the first trimester, 60.6% of the women reported never smoking, 27.3% were former smokers, 6.1% had quit when they found out they were pregnant, 5.8% were smokers and 42% of the non-smokers reported exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). Low detection of tobacco biomarkers in meconium limited its ability to identify exposure to SHS. The sensitivity and specificity for self-reported smoking during the 1st trimester were 85.37 and 99.45%, respectively. The lowest sensitivity was found in participants with the highest level of education and income, oldest women and those born outside Canada. Non-smoking women living in an apartment had 1.7 times higher odds of detectable plasma cotinine than those living in a single home after adjusting for other variables. Our results suggest that while self-reports are fairly accurate, they may be less so in populations with higher socio-economic status. This investigation underscores the need to consider the participant socio-economic characteristics and dwelling type when using questionnaires to estimate active and passive tobacco exposure.