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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine in blood or urine

07/27/2007

Question:

Can a nicotine test tell how long a person has stopped smoking? I am to be tobacco free for 2 months before I can have a procedure done...I will be tested...but not sure how. I was wondering if can tell I have been smoke free for that long.

Answer:

A test for the breakdown product of nicotine is called cotinine (COAT-a-neen).  This stays in the body longer than nicotine and is a good marker for long-term smoke exposure.  This can be measured in blood, saliva, and urine.  It would be best for you to follow the directions to not smoke for two months prior to a procedure being done as there are health concerns about smoking exposure.

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Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor, College of Nursing
Professor, College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University