Go to Top

Nicotine Test – All About Nicotine/Cotinine in Blood, Urine and Saliva

Nicotine Tests

Best Nicotine Tests Include:


Best Urine Test
NicAlert Nicotine Test
  • Instant Results
  • Cups/Gloves Available
  • Lowest Price

Best Saliva Test
NicAlert Saliva Test
  • For Professional Use
  • Easy-to-Read Test Strip
  • Instant Results

Nicotine Blood Testing
Blood Collection Kit
  • Laboratory Service
  • Longest Window of Detection
  • The Most Accurate

As soon as you hear the word nicotine, the next thing that comes to mind is tobacco, usually smoking tobacco cigarettes. Nicotine is an alkaloid substance found in the tobacco plant called Nicotiana Tabacum. Nicotine constitutes about 3% of tobacco’s total dry weight. It’s the extremely addictive element of tobacco and makes tobacco use more addictive than even Heroin and Cocaine.

Before we talk about nicotine test, how it works and why you might need one, we should remember that tobacco is not the only source of nicotine or nicotine poisoning. In addition to tobacco, it can be found, though not in as much proportion, in other species of nightshade plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, green peppers, potatoes, and leaves of coca plants.

It has also been heavily used in insecticides since the late 17th century but was eventually banned in the US in 2008 by United States Environmental Protection Agency. Another thing to keep in mind is that the amount of nicotine found in your blood, urine, saliva or hair is relative, and depends on many factors such as the person’s genetic makeup, the way they take nicotine etc.

Disclosure: Our nicotine test reviews are based upon the experience, testing and skill of our trained paid staff. Links from QuitSmokingCommunity.org to one of the reviewed products or brands, will allow you to purchase directly from the provider. We receive commissions from these providers; this does not affect your price and helps to pay for the operations of this informational website. To learn more click here. Thank you!

Types of Nicotine Test:

There are three major types of nicotine test: nicotine blood test, urine nicotine test, and saliva nicotine test (swab). A fourth, rather less common type is hair test, which is only used for research purposes, for instance in a study that tries to measure how much a non-smoker is exposed to tobacco smoke.

Let’s talk about the others in detail:

Nicotine Blood Test

Nicotine Blood Tests
The rate at which nicotine can be absorbed by the blood varies from person to person and depends on the amount of nicotine in the particular brand of the cigarette as well as the way the person takes it. However, it’s instantly absorbed by blood i.e. within seconds of puffing on a cigarette.

Nicotine can be tested in blood both qualitatively and quantitatively. An expert can take a blood sample and determine the levels or mere presence of nicotine in it. Nicotine blood test is a very effective approach and can detect the tiniest traces of cotinine in the bloodstream.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your Blood?

When nicotine enters the blood stream, it’s metabolized into cotinine, which then slowly mixes with the blood. Your liver then toils to remove the toxins along with cotinine from the blood. While the removal of waste products by the kidney from urine is very fast, detoxification of nicotine from blood is usually very slow.

Nicotine can be seen in blood 1-3 days after using a nicotine product. But depending on the intake and person’s genetics, sometimes it can take up to a week for the cotinine level in blood of a tobacco user to come down to the level of a non-tobacco user.

When Blood Testing is the Right Option?  Blood testing is usually done when very accurate results are required. Its pros and cons will show when it can be a viable option:

Pros of Blood-Based Nicotine Testing
  • The most meticulous way for detecting nicotine in your body, with a comparatively longer detection window.
Cons of Blood-Testing
  • Expensive and time consuming.

The Best Blood-Based Nicotine Test

Nicotine Testing Service w/ Quantified Analysis and Blood Collection Kit

Price: $34.75 per unit (discounted pricing of up to $25.97 available for multiple units)

Blood Nicotine TestInstead of nicotine, this test detects the presence of cotinine in the bloodstream. Cotinine is a metabolite formed when nicotine is metabolized by your body. It stays in the blood for longer than nicotine and therefore prolongs the detection window for the nicotine test.

There are a few things that we liked about the Premium Nicotine Tests/Quantified Analysis:

  • Includes a convenient home blood sample collection kit
  • Just a few drops of blood are required to offer comprehensive, quantified lab results
  • Can also detect secondhand smoking or use of Nicotine Replacement Therapies such as nicotine patches, nicotine gums etc.

This is an ideal test for workplaces, quit smoking programs, hospitals, academic research, and even self-testing.  The New York State laws prohibit the sale of such kits to the residents, therefore if you live in NY, you won’t be able to acquire it.

Urine Nicotine Test

Urine Nicotine Tests

The standard and most commonly used system for testing nicotine is a urine sample. It’s extremely simple and can be done by anyone at home. All you need to do is buy an over-the-counter strip, dip it in your urine for at least five minutes, and read the results. The result is read in terms of either positive or negative. The cutoff level of nicotine in urine is 200ng/ml; that means a person is positive if the reading on the strip is higher than that. In a regular nicotine user, the reading can be as high as 1,000-5,000 ng/ml.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your Urine

While nicotine gets absorbed by the human body very quickly, it takes quite a while to leave it. Nicotine is usually detectable in urine for up to four days, however, for long-term, heavy users, it can take as long as 2-3 weeks to completely disappear from the urine. 

When is Urinalysis the Right Option? The pros and cons of urine nicotine test show when it may or may not be a good option:

Pros of Urinalysis
  • It’s the most sensitive and cost-effective method for detecting nicotine and offers instant, on the spot results.
Cons
  • It’s extremely easy to beat a urine test by adulterating the sample.

Top 3 Urine Tests for Nicotine

NicAlert - Instant Urine Nicotine and Secondhand Smoke Test

Price: $15.95 per unit (discounted pricing of up to $10.25 per unit available for multiple units)

nic-alert-urine-testNicAlert is the ideal kit available on the market to detect nicotine intake within the past 48 hours by the donor.  Ideal for use by health care professionals, school management, insurance companies, and researchers, the kit helps detect the presence of cotinine and offers instant visual representation. It can also be used to detect the impact of secondhand smoke.

What really makes it an ideal test is the affordable price and instant result. Fill a container with about 1.25 cm of urine, remove a strip from the package and dip it in the urine for about 20 seconds, while holding the green-tipped end.

Place the dipped strip on the back of the card included in the kit, and wait for about 20 minutes, until the blue line on the strip disappears. The lowest red band reading on the strip shows your result, which you can compare with the included chart. Detecting nicotine in urine is as simple as that.

TobacAlert - Quantitative Instant Urine Nicotine Test

Price: $15.95 per unit (discounted pricing of up to $10.25 per unit available for multiple units)

Tobac Alert TestAn instant kit that can be used at home for finding out the quantitative level of exposure to tobacco products. It’s extremely easy to use and offers instant, accurate results. By measuring the levels of cotinine in the donor’s body, it can give a clear insight into how much the person is exposed to tobacco products and tobacco smoke.

Parents and workplaces may find this TobacAlert handy in making sure that the kids or workers are not using any tobacco products.

This kit, however, isn’t recommended for medical use and shouldn’t be used for diagnosing any medical condition.

Cotinine Urine Laboratory Test Kit
Price: $50 per unit

Cotinine Lab TestThis is a professional grade urine test that can be ordered online, but the donor will have to go to the nearest facility for sample collection. The test can detect the presence of cotinine/nicotine in donor’s urine, with a detection window of 2-3 days after nicotine use, and the results are available in 1-2 business days after sample collection. You can also call and schedule a same-day testing nationwide, provide you schedule your appointment by 12:00 in the noon.

Although this can be the most accurate urinalysis on our list, however, it doesn’t offer the convenience of at-home testing and instant results. However, they have a short processing time, and as soon as the results are available, the owner of the account will be notified. The donor might be contacted by the medical review officer if they’ve any questions.

Saliva Nicotine Test (Swab)

Saliva Nicotine Tests

The most accurate and most preferred method by health professionals to test nicotine is saliva test. It not only rids you of the hassle of handling urine but is also capable of providing an approximate amount of nicotine the person has in his body, which can be easily translated into the amount of tobacco they have used. A saliva test can determine nicotine levels of 0 to 2000ng/ml, the widest range offered by any of the three types of the test.

Just like urine test, saliva test requires the individual’s saliva to be soaked in a strip, for about twenty minutes. The saliva then reacts with cotinine metabolite in the strip and reveals the amount of nicotine in the system by indicating different levels of cotinine in the spit.

When is Saliva Drug Test the Right Option? To find out the answer, let’s take a look at its pros and cons.

Pros of Saliva Nicotine Testing

The saliva test is the most non-invasive, and the easiest nicotine test to administer.

Cons of Saliva Nicotine Testing

Saliva test has a very short detection window. Usually, it’s reliable only if the donor has used nicotine very recently.

Top 3 Saliva Nicotine Tests

Cotinine Saliva Laboratory Test

Price: $39.00 per unit

nictoine-testA professional grade saliva testing that offers quantified lab results by detecting the levels of nicotine in the donor. The kit allows very convenient collection, no matter you do it at your home or workplace. The price of the test includes all the lab fees and shipping costs, and you can expect results in 3-7 days after the lab receives your sample. On top of that, you also get a comprehensive report by a medical review officer.

Although, saliva testing is very convenient and non-invasive, however, it has a short detection window and certain foods, such as black tea, tomatoes, potatoes etc. also contain nicotine and can cause a false-positive result.

NicAlert Saliva Nicotine Test

Price: $17.25 Per Unit

Saliva Drug TestingA counterpart of NicAlert urinalysis, this is an affordable kit to test a saliva sample and offers instant results. The easy to read test is ideal for health care professionals, school management, insurance companies, and research facilities. The test can detect tobacco use within the past 48 hours, and also detects secondhand smoke.

To administer the test, you remove the strip from the package, only touching the green-tipped end and place it on the back of the card included in the kit. Place the funnel in the saliva tube, and spit in it so that the tube is half full. Snap the top of the saliva tube container, and squeeze at least eight drops on the white-tipped end of the strip.

Wait for the blue line on the strip to disappear, which takes about thirty minutes, and see the lowest red band reading which is your saliva nicotine test reading. 

TobacAlert Instant Saliva Nicotine Test

Price: $17.25 Per Unit

Tobac Alert TestTobacAlert is an affordable test for parents, coaches, employers, and insurance companies to determine the level of exposure to tobacco. It’s the only kit that allows administering a test at your home or workplace, and yet offer quantitative results, for smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, in the form of instant visual interpretation. Although this test offers very accurate results, it shouldn’t be used for medical purposes or as an aid in any medical condition.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your Saliva

Depending on the usage and amount in the system, nicotine in saliva can be detectable for anywhere between 10 hours to 4 days after the last intake.

Nicotine Test — What Is It and Why Do It?

Nicotine testing is done to find out whether a person is actively using tobacco or not. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in America. According to a Fact Sheet by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 480,000 people die in the States alone. Long-term use of tobacco increases the risk of many lethal diseases, and can have a great impact on an individual’s health. This is why many employers require nicotine testing to evaluate their prospective employees. In addition, there are many other reasons where an individual might be required to take a nicotine test:

  • When a court may order nicotine test, usually in cases of child custody
  • To find out if an individual is taking a nicotine overdose that might be causing/augmenting the illness he/she is under treatment for
  • When a woman is pregnant and wants to assess the health of unborn and in breastfeeding mothers to find out if the infant is getting its harmful effects through the milk
  • When a health and life insurance companies require nicotine testing before they start their plan
  • To monitor compliance of an individual who joins a smoking cessation program
  • When an individual is about to go under spinal fusion, wound revision, orthopedic, plastic surgery, pulmonary therapy, or organ transplantation

A nicotine test can offer qualitative as well as quantitative results. Qualitative nicotine test may reveal whether or not nicotine is present inside the system of an individual, while quantitative nicotine test shows its concentration level. In other words, Qualitative testing will help distinguish non-tobacco users, those who have recently quit, those who are exposed to second-hand smoke, and those who actively smoke from each other.

How to Effectively Clear Nicotine from the Body and Pass a Nicotine Test

Although nicotine is extremely addictive, quitting is possible. Chances of abstinence increase if both medicinal and non-medicinal aids are used to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. However, if you want to quickly get nicotine out of your system, you might not be able to use the nicotine replacement therapies. There are some drugs, however, like Chantix and Zyban that can act as a medicinal cessation aid but don’t contain nicotine. These pills have their own side effects which can be extremely severe, so make sure you consult a health professional and offer them a full disclosure on any health issues you’ve had in the past before taking any of these medicines. Here are a few things you can do to clear nicotine from your body and pass a nicotine test.

  • Quit taking nicotine, preferably three weeks or at least 5-7 days before the test
  • Drink a lot of water as it helps nicotine leave your body through urine
  • Drink more fluids such as green tea, cranberry juice, and other fresh juices
  • Eat fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits. All of these can act as antioxidants and also speed up the process of detoxification of nicotine from your body. They are also rich in fiber and water content, two things that can expedite the process of metabolizing nicotine in your body.
  • Take a lot of Vitamin C. It’s found in oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes, strawberries, pineapples and other citrusy fruits. Vitamin C is not only a great antioxidant but also accelerates metabolism.
  • Increase your physical activity, go for long walks, and start doing regular exercise. Increased blood circulation helps your body get rid of all the toxins including cotinine through sweat.
  • Eat foods that help raise bile production in your liver for speedier removal of nicotine and help your system get clean. Garlic, egg yolks, and onions are some of the foods you should consider.
  • There are some medicines/detox drinks that claim to help your body get clean instantly, however, make sure you consult your doctor before taking any such medicine. We personally think, most of these drinks are nothing but a waste of money.
  • Avoid going to places where people are smoking
  • Try to live a happy, depression-free life otherwise, you might feel like going back to your addiction.

One last cunning trick to pass the test: if you only have traces of nicotine showing up after the test, blame it on second-hand smoke 😉 Needless to say, this excuse won’t work if your body is packed with nicotine.

Facebook Twitter Google Plus
Quit Smoking Community