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Who is to blame for our nicotine addiction? Is it the Mayan priests shown smoking pipes of tobacco on ancient South American temple carvings? Is it the indigenous people who drew the nicotine from the plant for medicine some 2000 years ago? Is it Christopher Columbus and his crew who would have been the first Europeans to come across this plant?

Should we pin it on the slave traders who used the slaves to work their tobacco crops or the beggars in Seville Spain who from 1614 collected cigar scraps and rolled the tobacco into small pieces of paper to create the first official cigarettes?

In recent years it has been the infamous tobacco corporations who have received the blame for our habit. Whatever the reasoning there are still 42.1 million U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers as at the year 2013 and this habit kills more than 480,000 of us each year. Testing for when cotinine leaves your system is now available.

This produces the addiction and we keep wanting more

Short term effects of smoking

People who smoke get tired much easier. They can get a cough and usually have shortness of breath when participating in physical activity because smoking causes poor lung function. Smoking affects your senses such as taste and smell, making them less effective. It can also make you short of breath during physical activity, even light exercise. And if you are worried about your looks and hygiene, other short-term effects include bad breath, stained teeth and premature aging of the skin.

Long term effects of smoking

Smoking has been linked to and proven in most cases to cause heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke and is problematic for those suffering with asthma or pneumonia. It can cause gum disease and tooth loss and wounds and our immune system take longer to heal if we smoke.

So why do we do smoke?

Nicotine is a drug. It is addictive. It works on the same brain receptors as other drugs. It affects our dopamine receptors which are responsible for the pleasure center of the brain. Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine within ten seconds of smoking or chewing tobacco and then it stops MAO (monoamine oxidase) which is an enzyme that cleans up the dopamine. This means that the natural occurrence and the short lived time of dopamine release is changed and we feel pleasure for longer. This produces the addiction and we keep wanting more.

The Nicotine and Cotinine Test at Home:-

Nicotine is the active ingredient in many tobacco products and when chewing or smoking tobacco, nicotine gets forced in to the blood stream. It then gets turned in to cotinine in the lungs and the liver and is excreted through the urine. It takes different amounts of time to leave the body depending on how much you have had and your metabolism. This is what a nicotine or cotinine home test kit will measure.

An approximate reading to go by is that the nicotine will typically be gone within 1-3 days and cotinine will be detectable for 1-10 days from when you last had tobacco. If you are trying to give up and want to know if it is out of your system, there are many home urine and saliva test kits available to measure the nicotine AND cotinine.


Nicotine’s derivative is cotinine. This metabolite of nicotine is tested for in insurance medicals and some pre-employment medicals. Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide. It is extremely addictive and many tobacco companies are now researching ways to ingest the nicotine without having to smoke the other chemicals in a cigarette. If you would like more information on how to quit smoking, what tests are out there and support, check out these great resources.

Tobacco and Nicotine: www.drugabuse.gov

Home test for Nicotine/Cotinine: www.hometests.com

Home Treatment for Nicotine Addiction: www.hometests.com

Is smoking tobacco really addictive? www.cancer.org

How to Quit: Help for smokers: www.lung.org