Various tests for detecting nicotine are done which measures the level of a chemical called cotinine. Cotinine is a metabolite of nicotine. When nicotine is consumed by a person, the body metabolizes it and converts into cotinine. Nicotine test is conducted by blood, saliva, urine, and hair samples. However, most commonly a urine test is conducted for detecting the presence of nicotine and its metabolites. It is important for parents to know about nicotine test as they wish to determine if their children have been smoking. Some health and life insurance companies also conduct nicotine tests for checking the person who apply for insurance. Nicotine tests are also conducted by many organizations to provide safe workplace environment.
A cotinine test helps in detecting only the usage of tobacco and not any other diseases or ailments. Urine cotinine test can detect cotinine for two to four days after the use of tobacco. The levels of cotinine are based on the amount and type of tobacco consumed. The cut-off value for a nicotine urine test is 200ng/ml. Exposure to secondhand smoke may also give a positive result in nicotine testing.
The urine test detects the presence of cotinine by use of a test strip or by placing few drops of urine on a test disc. A postive or a negative result is shown based on the reaction of cotinine in the sample with testing materials. Many home based nicotine urine test kits are also available that help in detecting the presence of cotinine. These are available in superstores, pharmacies, and also through internet.
Urine nicotine tests are used in many situations such as smoking cessation programs, child custody cases, and life insurance purposes.