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Drug Testing
by Erowid
Tested for in Standard Drug Tests?
Tested for in Extended Drug Tests?
Possible to Test for?
Detection Period in Urine
2-10 days

Urine Testing
Inexpensive test strips are available that detect cotinine, a nicotine metabolite, in urine by immunoassay. These tests are not very sensitive (cutoff around 200 ng/ml) and they can only detect cotinine for about 2-5 days.

More sensitive urine tests can be performed with a variety of techniques, such as GCMS (cutoff = 5 ng/ml-1) and ion pair reversed-phase chromatography (cutoff = 2 ng/ml). These tests are considerably more expensive and time-consuming than strip tests, but have a longer detection window, about 7-10 days.

Hair Testing
Nicotine and cotinine can be detected in hair via GC/MS, with a detection cutoff around 2 ng/ml (nicotine). Hair tests have a much longer detection window than fluid tests.

Saliva Testing
Cotinine can be detected by quick, inexpensive saliva tests. Some saliva tests are extremely sensitive, detecting cotinine at concentrations as low as 1 ng/ml. Nicotine and cotinine can be detected in saliva with more sensitive and expensive procedures, such as HPLC. The detection window for these procedures is around 7-10 days.

Blood Testing
Nicotine and cotinine are detectable in the blood with laboratory testing, for about 7-10 days.

Substances or Conditions which can cause false positives
Some foods and drinks contain nicotine, including some black teas, potatoes, tomatoes, and other plant foods from the family Solanaceae. Some could theoretically cause a false-positive on a sensitive test.(ref)

Most nicotine tests detect cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine that remains in the body longer than nicotine or carbon monoxide. Cotinine's elimination half-life is 17-20 hours, compared to 2 hours for nicotine.

Erowid's drug testing information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, journal articles, websites, and other resources. Detection periods depend on amount and frequency of use, metabolic rate, body mass, age, overall health, drug tolerance, and urine pH of each individual. Many substances that are not tested for in basic or extended urinalysis tests CAN be tested for by a laboratory willing to go to the trouble, although that is uncommon.