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First nation-wide estimation of tobacco consumption in Spain using wastewater-based epidemiology

AuthorsMontes, Rosa; Rodil, Rosario; Rico, Andreu; Cela, Rafael; González-Mariño, Iria; Hernández, Félix; Bijlsma, Lubertus; Celma, Alberto; Picó, Yolanda; Andreu, Vicente; López De Alda, Miren ; López-García, Ester ; Postigo, Cristina ; Pocurull, Eva; Marcé, Rosa María; Rosende, María; Olivares, Maitane; Valcárcel, Yolanda; Quintana, José Benito
Nationwide monitoring
Sewage surveillance
Issue Date1-Nov-2020
CitationScience of the Total Environment 741:140384 (2020)
AbstractWastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has become a very useful tool to monitor a population's drug consumption or exposure to environmental and food contaminants. In this work, WBE has been applied to estimate tobacco consumption in seven Spanish regions. To this end, 24 h composite wastewater samples were taken daily for one week in 17 wastewater treatment plants, covering altogether a population of ca. 6 million inhabitants. The samples were treated by enzymatic deconjugation and the wastewater content of two human-specific nicotine metabolites (namely, cotinine and trans-3′-hydroxycotinine) was measured to estimate the daily consumption of nicotine. The population-weighted average nicotine consumption in the seven analyzed regions was 2.2 g/(day∙1000 inh.), without any daily pattern. This average estimated nicotine consumption value agreed with the value derived from official tobacco sales data. Differences in consumption among the seven studied regions were found, being Galicia, the region with the lowest rate, and the Basque Country and Catalonia those with the highest rates. However, no conclusive correlation was found between those values and the prevalence data taken from two different national surveys, nor sociodemographic and health data. This study demonstrates that this tool can complement other indicators in order to accurately assess tobacco consumption rates at regional and national levels and provides the most extensive application of the approach in the Spanish territory.
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