What is a nicotine test?

A nicotine test is a form of drug test used by employers or insurance companies to determine if a person uses tobacco products such as cigarettes. Nicotine tests can be performed on urine or a saliva sample and work by measuring the chemical produced in the body when nicotine is introduced. It can detect recent use of all types of tobacco for about four days. These tests help employers and insurance companies determine the amount of possible risk involved in new hires.

Some employers and/or insurance companies require that a person take a nicotine test before being hired, during employment, or before purchasing an insurance policy. Since larger companies often provide some form of health insurance, they may try to cut costs by not hiring a tobacco user if the law allows. Some even go so far as to require random testing for tenured employees. Most health insurance providers require you to pass a nicotine test before agreeing to cover; some may deny tobacco users coverage all together. Nicotine home drug test kits are also available for purchase at various pharmacies, allowing parents to test their children if they wish.

This test can be done on a urine or saliva sample and works by measuring the level of cotinine in the body. Cotinine is the chemical produced by the body when nicotine enters the bloodstream. Standard tests are capped at 200 ng/ml, although the more advanced saliva test can record anywhere from zero to 2,000 ng/ml.

A standard test is done on a urine sample, and this test is the most common over-the-counter test. A test strip is placed in the sample for five minutes and will show the amount, if any, of cotinine in the body. This type of nicotine test can record use in the past four days or more for frequent smokers.

Possibly the most accurate nicotine test is the saliva test. For this, a person must provide a saliva sample, which soaks into a test strip. Results are available to the tester after 20 minutes. This type of nicotine test is generally preferred by insurance companies and employers because it eliminates the need to handle urine. The saliva nicotine test can also detect much lower ranges of nicotine than the urine test, providing a more complete picture of how much tobacco a person uses.

The purpose of a nicotine test is generally to determine what risk a person can employ or cover. Those who use nicotine products are more likely to develop a number of different health problems than those who don't; They typically miss more days of work than non-tobacco users due to common health problems, such as colds.

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