The urine cotinine test is an important test to help you quit smoking. This test measures the amount of cotinine in your urine, a chemical your body makes after you are exposed to nicotine. Measuring cotinine is better than measuring nicotine because nicotine disappears from your system within a few hours, but cotinine It remains for a day or more, in the “Check yourself” series, we learn about the importance of this test, according to the American University of Rochester website.
Why do you need a urine cotinine test for your smoking cessation journey?
You may have this test to measure your progress in a smoking cessation program. This test can also help your doctor figure out the right dose of a nicotine patch to help you quit smoking.
The nicotine patch is one of the nicotine alternatives that smokers use to quit smoking and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
You may need to have a cotinine test if you are applying for a job at a company that prohibits smoking. This test is also done to check for nicotine poisoning.
You may also have blood and saliva tests along with a urine test to detect cotinine.
What do cotinine test results mean?
Cotinine is measured in nanograms per milliliter (nanograms/ml):
Cotinine levels in a non-smoker are usually less than 10 ng/ml.
Cotinine levels in a light smoker or a person exposed to secondhand smoke are 11 ng/mL to 30 ng/mL.
Cotinine levels in a heavy smoker may be more than 500 ng/ml.
What may affect the test results?
If you use a nicotine replacement medicine, such as a gum or patch, the cotinine test will not give an accurate result. Inhaling secondhand smoke can also affect the outcome. If you haven’t smoked or been exposed to nicotine within 7 to 10 days, your cotinine levels begin to return to a normal level.
How do you prepare for this test?
Drink enough water before the test so that you can urinate.
Try to stay away from places where you may be exposed to secondhand smoke for several days before the test.
Make sure your doctor knows all the medications, herbs, vitamins and supplements you’re taking, including over-the-counter medications.