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Nicotine Screening


At Spectrum MDX, we are committed to providing comprehensive screening solutions to our customers. By remaining at the forefront of industry trends, we’re able to deliver the most effective testing tools. Our profound understanding of the importance and value of a comprehensive screening process ensures that our clients receive screening products designed for accuracy. We bring you the latest innovation in rapid urine screening offering highly accurate results in just minutes.

Our rapid nicotine (cotinine) tests are designed to detect this compound in urine, and can provide qualitative results in just minutes!

Who uses Nicotine Screening?

The most common reasons for nicotine testing include:

  • Court-ordered testing in child custody cases
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Health or life insurance application processes
  • Clinical Research
  • Pre-surgery for certain procedures
  • Pre-hiring
  • For medical purposes, if nicotine overdose is suspected

The tests can be either random to help identify tobacco use, or scheduled. Scheduled tests are typically more common prior to hiring, or as a part of insurance acceptance procedures.

Targeting Cotinine

Nicotine testing actually uses cotinine detection, as it lasts longer in the body. The presence of cotinine in the body is directly related to processing nicotine. This is a biomarker for tobacco use or exposure. The in vivo half-life of cotinine is approximately 20 hours. Typically, cotinine can be detected for up to 1-2 days following tobacco use.

Cotinine can be detected in both blood and urine. Blood tests require a lab technician to collect blood samples using a needle, which is costly and intrusive. Urine testing, on the other hand, is less invasive and samples can be obtained without the assistance of a technician.

Detection Periods

In general, nicotine will typically remain present in the body for 1 to 3 days. However, there are a number of variants that can affect how long nicotine remains in the system. The nicotine concentration of a tobacco product can affect how long it remains in your system, as well as genetics. Cotinine will remain present for 1 to 10 days. If a person stops using tobacco however, cotinine will remain in urine up to 3 to 4 days following the last day tobacco was used. Tobacco products containing menthol can cause the cotinine to stay in urine longer.

Nicotine Screening Results

Moderate nicotine levels can indicate that tobacco use ceased approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to testing. In these cases, it is often advised to perform random testing as a follow-up. As well, those who test positive for low levels of nicotine could potentially be exposed to nicotine through their surroundings, as opposed to actually using tobacco themselves.

Click here to view our nicotine screening tests.