Cotinine and Nicotine
A test for cotinine is a way to test for nicotine use. Cotinine is a substance produced in the liver when a person takes in nicotine, whether by smoking (cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vaping), chewing tobacco, nicotine patches or gum. Employers may test for cotinine to affirm an applicant’s statement of that they are a non-tobacco user. Life and health insurers often do the same.
Why Test for Cotinine?
A cotinine test is both a qualitative test (ie., it can determine, yes or no, whether cotinine is present) and a quantitative test (ie.,it can measure how much cotinine is present), so it can be used to determine whether someone is a current tobacco user and how recently they have quit, as well as long they have been using. That’s why insurance companies and employers use it.
When a person quits smoking, it can take two weeks or longer for blood levels of cotinine to drop to the level of a non-smoker. It can take several weeks for urine levels to drop to non-smoker levels. Cotinine can be measured in your blood, urine, saliva and hair (though hair testing is usually reserved for research purposes).
In some states, it is legal to base a non-hiring decision on tobacco use. If you are preparing to apply for a job in one of these states, or if you are preparing to apply for life or health insurance and you have recently quit using tobacco, you may want to test proactively on your own to make sure your blood levels are at the lowest possible level to make sure that your test results come back negative for active tobacco use. For more information, contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin, TX North.
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