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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine in Blood or Urine

10/24/2005

Question:

I`ve seen simialar question but not the answer to the specific question I want to ask. Just took a blood and urine test for a life insurance policy. When they test the specimens for nicotine how long does the nicotine show up in blood and urine from smokeless tobacco use.

Answer:

Nicotine has a short half-life (2-4 hours) so often it is not detectable after 24 hours. Cotinine, its major metabolite, has a half-life of 16-19 hours so it usually is detectable for 4-7 days, depending upon amount of consumption.

It's hard to answer your question; it definitely depends on the amount of nicotine in the tobacco product, how much is used, and how it is used. Cotinine can be detected in the saliva as well. Other sources for information on Cotinine are the Foundation for Blood Research: http://www.fbr.org/ and the Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

(See the CDC's Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals)

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Response by:

Kathy Vesha, RN, BSN, MA
Formerly:
Kick It!
The James
The Ohio State University

Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH
Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University