OBJECTIVES: We investigated the validity of the dipstick method (Mossman Associates Inc. USA) and the expired CO method to distinguish between smokers and nonsmokers. We also elucidated the related factors of the two methods. METHODS: This study included 244 smokers and 50 exsmokers, recruited from smoking cessation clinics at 4 local public health centers, who had quit for over 4 weeks. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity and Kappa coefficient of each method for validity. We obtained ROC curve, predictive value and agreement to determine the cutoff of expired air CO method. Finally, we elucidated the related factors and compared their effect powers using the standardized regression coefficient. RESULTS: The dipstick method showed a sensitivity of 92.6%, specificity of 96.0% and Kappa coefficient of 0.79. The best cutoff value to distinguish smokers was 5-6ppm. At 5 ppm, the expired CO method showed a sensitivity of 94.3%, specificity of 82.0% and Kappa coefficient of 0.73. And at 6 ppm, sensitivity, specificity and Kappa coefficient were 88.5%, 86.0% and 0.64, respectively. Therefore, the dipstick method had higher sensitivity and specificity than the expired CO method. The dipstick and expired CO methods were significantly increased with increasing smoking amount. With longer time since the last smoking, expired CO showed a rapid decrease after 4 hours, whereas the dipstick method showed relatively stable levels for more than 4 hours. CONCLUSIONS: The dipstick and expired CO methods were both good indicators for assessing smoking status. However, the former showed higher sensitivity and specificity and stable levels over longer hours after smoking, compared to the expired CO method.