Education Health & Wellness

All You Should Know About Tobacco Drug Testing

Drug Testing

You may have to take the drug test if you apply for a new job. To ensure that employees can be trusted to protect critical information, or even the health and other person’s safety, many states, private employers, and federal agencies may require you to do tobacco drug testing.

How Tobacco Drug Testing Works

There are various ways to test for nicotine and cotinine, which nicotine creates after entering your body. The multiple ways of tobacco drug testing include:

  • Qualitative testing: looking for the presence of nicotine in your body.
  • Quantitative testing: measuring nicotine or cotinine concentration in your body. It can tell if you’ve been breathing in a lot of tobacco smoke or not suppose you’re not a tobacco user. It can also show if you’re an active smoker or if you’ve quit recently.

What Tobacco Drug Testing Distinguishes 

Usually, the tests don’t look for nicotine but cotinine. That’s because cotinine lasts for an extended time in your body and is also more stable. Cotinine shows up in blood or urine tests. A lab tech will insert a needle into your vein to collect sample blood if you have to do a blood test. When having a urine test, however, you’ll submit a random urine sample. If your body processed nicotine, you’d have the presence of cotinine in your urine or blood.

Why and When the Tests Are Ordered

There are several reasons why you might need tobacco drug testing. The following are the most common reasons for the test:

  • Before some surgeries
  • For employment
  • Suspicion of nicotine overdose
  • During the application for health or life insurance
  • Testing in child custody cases due to court order

How Long Nicotine Stays in The System

Seconds after you light up, the amount of nicotine in your blood rises. However, the amount of nicotine in the cigarette and how much you inhale affect how much nicotine is present in your body. After you stop smoking tobacco, nicotine will leave your blood within 1 to 3 days, while cotinine will leave after 1 to 10 days.

A Most Sensitive Way to Detect Tobacco Cotinine

The most sensitive way to test for cotinine is through a urine test, and it can detect it for up to 4 days. After you stop smoking tobacco, hair testing is a reliable way to see long-term use of tobacco products within 1 to 3 months. The test can detect nicotine for up to 12months.

Meaning of Tobacco Test Results

If your nicotine levels are moderate, it shows that you used tobacco but stopped 2 to 3 weeks before conducting the test.

If people who don’t use tobacco are exposed to tobacco smoke, it’s possible that they can also test positive for low levels of nicotine. 

When the test fails to detect any nicotine or cotinine in your system, it indicates that you don’t use tobacco, you haven’t breathed in tobacco, or you gave up on smoking.

Importance of Tobacco Drug Testing

Smoking tobacco can cause cardiovascular diseases. Doing the test will help you understand the risk you’re putting your life.  

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