Sex and racial/ethnic identity-specific cut-points for validating tobacco use using Wave 1 (W1) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study were published in 2020. The current study establishes predictive validity of the W1 (2014) urinary cotinine and total nicotine equivalents-2 (TNE-2) cut-points on estimating Wave 4 (W4; 2017) tobacco use.


For exclusive and polytobacco cigarette use, weighted prevalence estimates based on W4 self-report alone and with exceeding the W1 cut-point were calculated to identify the percentage missed without biochemical verification. Sensitivity and specificity of W1 cut-points on W4 self-reported tobacco use status were examined. ROC curves were used to determine the optimal W4 cut-points to distinguish past 30-day users from non-users, and evaluate whether the cut-points significantly differed from W1.


Agreement between W4 self-reported use and exceeding the W1 cut-points was high overall and when stratified by demographic subgroups (0.7%–4.4% of use was missed if relying on self-report alone). The predictive validity of using the W1 cut-points to classify exclusive cigarette and polytobacco cigarette use at W4 was high (>90% sensitivity and specificity, except among polytobacco Hispanic smokers). Cut-points derived using W4 data did not significantly differ from the W1-derived cut-points [e.g., W1 exclusive = 40.5 ng/mL cotinine (95% confidence interval, CI: 26.1–62.8), W4 exclusive = 29.9 ng/mL cotinine (95% CI: 13.5–66.4)], among most demographic subgroups.


The W1 cut-points remain valid for biochemical verification of self-reported tobacco use in W4.


Findings from can be used in clinical and epidemiologic studies to reduce misclassification of cigarette smoking status.

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