Nicotine Drug Testing

Cigarettes are a legal drug, one that used to be considered “hip” or cool to abuse. But over the past two or so decades, public opinion has definitely turned. Smoking, by most social standards, is thought of as a bad habit with negative health risks for smokers (and some argue second-hand smokers as well).

There are dozens of drug tests on the market to check for cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs—there are even home screening kits for alcohol drug tests. But many people may not know that similar nicotine drug testing can be done to identify cigarette and tobacco use.

Nicotine breaks down very quickly, which makes it difficult to spot in any tests. But when you smoke, the drug releases a byproduct called Continine. This metabolite is recognizable through a urine test, and can be spotted 2-4 days after tobacco use. As with any other drug, there are many factors that can contribute to the potency of the results, including cigarette puff size, how often you smoke, and the type of cigarettes used. Continine itself is not harmful, the nicotine and tar is what makes smoking dangerous. But it is an instant indicator of tobacco use. Continine drug testing is the industry standard when screening for nicotine and cigarette use.

Blood tests can also be used to test for Continine, though urine tests seem to be the most commonly used and easily accessible. Saliva tests do not work, since there are so many variables in your saliva that can alter the test results.

Though smoking may be a social faux pas, businesses have not yet jumped full-speed on the anti-smoking bandwagon. So if businesses aren’t buying these tests, why bother having them? Often, these tests are used by parents who are checking to see if their kids are smoking. Or in some cases a loved one made a promise to quit and tests are used as a way to show the smoker hasn’t fallen off the non-nicotine wagon. People may also need to be negative for nicotine drug tests in order to receive certain medical procedures. There are several uses outside the workplace for this type of nicotine drug testing.

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