Understanding Adolescent Exposures of Tobacco Products by Urine Metabolomics

Authors: Ping-Ching Hsu, Min-Ae Song, Kenneth Riedl, Morgan Cichon, Quentin A. Nickerson, Brittney L. Keller-Hamilton, Amy K. Ferketich, Peter G. Shields

Category: Molecular Epidemiology & Environment, Cancer Health Disparities
Conference Year: 2018

Abstract Body:
Background: Most smokers and smokeless tobacco (ST) users begin before the age of 18. In adolescents, the prevalence of ST and e-cigarette (e-cig) use has been increasing and the prevalence of dual use is high, and even higher in Ohio than many other states. Methods: A cohort of both rural and urban adolescent males in Ohio was established to determine the differences in exposure to tobacco toxicants for smokers, ST users, e-cigarette users, and dual/poly users among adolescents using untargeted metabolomics controlling for urinary cotinine levels. Results: Among 94 adolescent who reported ever use of any tobacco product, 36.2% used more than one product and 23% had used all three products (cigarette, ST, and e-cig). For single users, ever use of e-cig was the highest (16%) compared to ever cigarette use (12.8%) and ever ST use (11.7%). Significant differences were observed in global metabolomic profiles between active tobacco users and those with background cotinine levels (< 100ng/ml), as well as e-cig users vs. cigarette and ST users. Among active tobacco users, the nicotine metabolic ratio (NMR) was used to determine their metabolic capacity for nicotine. 15 urinary metabolites were significantly higher among fast than slow metabolizers (p < 0.05, absolute fold change > 2), including metabolites of flavorings, cigarette, and known biomarker with hepatotoxic effects. Conclusion: Metabolomic profiling is distinguishing adolescents who are choosing different types of tobacco products, including by their ability to metabolize nicotine. Such profiles may be useful as biomarkers of exposure, and identify disease mechanisms and pathways that are differentially affected by product choice.

Keywords: e-cigarette, adolescent, metabolomics