Cotinine and Nicotine
The word “cotinine” is an anagram of the word “nicotine.” 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. So a test for cotinine is a way to test for nicotine use. Employers may test for cotinine to affirm an applicant’s statement of that that are a non-tobacco user. Life and health insurers often do the same.
Why Test for Cotinine?
Cotinine testing works to tell whether someone is a current tobacco user, and also whether they have quit recently or been a long term user. This is because 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), That’s why insurance companies and employers use it.
Cotinine can be measured in your blood, urine, saliva and hair (Tough hair testing is usually reserved for research purposes). 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.
If you are planning to apply for a job in a state where it may be legal to base a non-hiring decision on tobacco use, 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 Mesa, AZ.
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