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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine in blood

04/12/2007

Question:

why does nicotine show up in my blood when i dont smoke...am not around anyone who smokes....have not smoked in over 20 years...and I dont chew....thats nasty....yet test says positive

Answer:

Nicotine is tested in your blood through cotinine levels. Cotinine is a chemical made by the body only from exposure to nicotine. People who do not smoke, who do not use any nicotine products or who are not exposed to other peoples' smoke should not have measurable cotinine levels. However, using a nicotine replacement product (such as nicotine lozenge or patch) would show cotinine in one's system. 

The only way to reduce your cotinine level is to stop or reduce your exposure to cigarette smoke. Depending on how high your cotinine level is to begin with, your level could drop to that of a nonsmoker in 7 to 10 days.

Source: Foundation for Blood Research www.fbr.org

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Response by:

Amanda Blake, BA, TTS, OCPS 1
Wellness and Prevention Specialist
JamesCare for Life
The James
The Ohio State University

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