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Testing for Smoking – Ways of Detecting Nicotine

When applying for life insurance, one of the first things you may have to do is to take is a nicotine detection test. Nicotine is found in chewing tobacco and cigarettes and is the chemical responsible for the addictive nature of these products. When testing for nicotine levels in an individual there are a variety of methods that can be used (typically gas-liquid chromatography) but it is actually the detection of cotinine that reveals the most about a person’s exposure to cigarettes.

When nicotine is absorbed into the body, whether by inhaling smoke (by smoking a cigarette or second-hand smoke) or chewing tobacco, the liver begins to process, metabolise, and break down the nicotine. During this process a metabolite called cotinine is formed. What makes cotinine so important to nicotine is the fact that it has a half-life that is nearly 10 times as long as nicotine itself. Detecting nicotine and cotinine to determine smoking habits for life insurance evaluations can be done in a variety of ways including:

Hair Samples – Using hair samples to detect nicotine can be important in long-term reporting because it can reveal nicotine levels as far back as 10 days before the user takes their sample, but on the other hand it can also be very expensive.

Saliva Testing for Nicotine – When testing for nicotine levels with saliva, it gives the tester a very straight-forward and non-invasive testing method that is more cost-effective than hair samples. The downside, however, is that saliva testing doesn’t provide much history so a light smoker than just had a cigarette before their test can appear to have the same habits as someone who smokes 2 packs a day.

Urine Testing for Nicotine – Urine testing is the overall preferred method for measuring someone’s smoking habits because it can easily differentiate passive smokers from active smokers. Much cheaper than blood sampling, cotinine levels can easily be detected to not only get a picture of long-term smoking history but also determine if a user smokes often or is exposed to small amounts of second hand smoke on a daily basis.

The Zoom Testing Nicotine Test Kit detects cotinine in urine within hours of using the drug and possibly up to 2 – 4 days after use (depending on the individual and amount of use). The results obtained using this nictotine test kit are very reliable and can be read within five minutes. This test is a great way for testing for smoking.

Blood Samples – One of the most effective ways to detect cotinine, using blood samples for testing a person’s smoking history can be a very lengthy process. The blood first has to be drawn, and then it has to go through extensive processing in the lab to separate different proteins for testing. Because it is so labour intensive and takes so long, it can be a lot more expensive than both saliva and urine testing.

Best Nicotine Drug Test Kits

Nicotine Drug Test (COT)

Nicotine Drug Test (COT)

This Zoom Health Nictoine test allows you to easily check for tobacco use. The Nicotine Test detects cotinine, the major metabolite of nicotine in human urine, at a cut-off concentration of 200 ng/ml. Cotinine will typically remain in the body 2 to 4 days after the last cigarette and this ... Read More

£2.49£28.99Select options

Multi Panel Drug Test

10 Drug Screen – Urine – Type X

The only test on the market that includes screens for Synthetic Cannabis, K2 Spice, Ketamine and Nicotine. Routinely testing young people or staff for drugs is a smart deterrent. The highly accurate and affordable Zoom Testing 10 panel drug test kit checks for the presence 10 commonly used drugs in ... Read More

£10.99 £8.99Add to basket

cannabis drugs test

Cannabis Drug Test (THC)

Professional cannabis urine drug testing kits. These single use cannabis drug test cassettes detect THC in urine at a cut-off of 50 ng/mL. Zoom Testing cannabis drug tests are 99% reliable and give results in less than 5 minutes. This product is used to obtain a visual, qualitative result and ... Read More

£2.49£28.99Select options

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013.

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