Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Can Bloodstream Tests Identify Nicotine

For medical, legal or insurance purposes, it is sometimes necessary to measure a person's nicotine levels. This can be done reliably through urinalysis or blood testing. Blood tests are not uniformly successful or accurate, but they can give a general picture of whether or not the person has recently used a tobacco product.

Nicotine and Cotinine

When nicotine is absorbed into the body, it breaks down into cotinine. A blood test for nicotine will usually include a measurement of cotinine levels.


Nicotine has a half-life of roughly two hours, meaning that half the nicotine in the body converts to cotinine every two hours. Cotinine's half-life is roughly twenty hours.

Time Frame

Because nicotine is metabolized so quickly, a blood test will only detect trace amounts after 24 to 72 hours. Cotinine may take up to 10 days to drop to levels undetectable by blood test.

False Negatives

Blood test results may fail to detect nicotine if the blood sample more than 24 hours after the person last smoked or chewed tobacco.

False Positives

People with certain types of liver defect may show nicotine and cotinine in their blood weeks or months after quitting.

Related posts

    A hair sample might tell a physician that you have smoked in the past year.Nicotine tests range from simple to complex. By taking a bodily fluid from the subject and analyzing it in a laboratory,...
    It's possible to test for nicotine in a variety of ways.Nicotine use, while legal for adults over the age of 18, is quickly becoming a societal taboo. Employers are allowed to determine whether or...
    As nicotine has become a bigger health problem, a variety of tests have been created to detect its presence in the body. As these tests have become more common, they've moved out of the realm of t...
    Laboratories perform different kinds of testsAn HIV test involves testing for either the virus or antibodies against it. Testing for chemicals (like enzymes or electrolytes) in the blood and testi...
    Blood Analysis to Detect Heart DiseaseFor more than half a century, medical professionals have used blood tests to help detect the presence---or predict the likelihood---of heart disease in their...