Facts About Smoking and Nicotine Use

Published on: August 14, 2018

Written by: Confirm BioSciences.

Nicotine is still regarded as one of the most addictive substances in America today, due to the prevalence and availability of tobacco products. Smoking cessation is extremely difficult as a result of strong withdrawal symptoms that occur immediately after quitting. Nicotine testing kits can be beneficial to monitor the progression of smoking cessation. But first,

Why Do People Smoke?

There are many reasons why people abuse nicotine and tobacco products. People young and old are at risk of developing an addiction to tobacco and nicotine-based products. Addiction usually arises after just one cigarette.

Despite the wealth of information available outlining the harmful effects of smoking on the lungs, respiratory tract, and cardiovascular system, nicotine is too addictive to consider the repercussions. The immediate effects of smoking include:

  • Increased alertness and concentration
  • Euphoria and relaxation
  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Headrush or dizziness

Signs of Nicotine Addiction

An addiction to nicotine becomes obvious when the individual goes out of their way and inconveniences themselves just to have a cigarette. Behavioral signs of a nicotine addiction include:

  • Smoking outdoors in very uncomfortable climate conditions (freezing temperatures, rain, etc.)
  • Smoking when sick (which can lead to bronchitis)
  • Taking frequent outdoor breaks when spending a prolonged amount of time indoors (i.e. at work, school, in a movie, etc.)

Most cigarette smokers understand how their behavior affects those around them. In fact, it can be very uncomfortable in today’s social climate to be a smoker because of the blatant disapproval of public smoking. While smoking used to be very popular and trendy, it is now a stigmatized behavior.

Difference Between Nicotine and Cotinine

Cotinine is the principle metabolite of nicotine manufactured by the liver in response to tobacco use. Cotinine is the most accurate identifier of smoking and tobacco use, which is why most nicotine drug tests are calibrated to screen for the presence of this metabolite instead of nicotine itself because of the longer window of detection that cotinine offers.

Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Many institutions need to learn about the effects of tobacco and the addictive properties of nicotine additives. These organizations include:

  • Health and Cancer Research Centers
  • Law firms, Consultants, and Class-Actions
  • Universities and Colleges
  • Coalitions and Nonprofits
  • Addiction Treatment Centers
  • Mental Health Research Institutes
  • Prenatal Screening Centers

These organizations are dedicated to presenting reliable information in order to bring aboard more support for a ban on tobacco-based products. Many campaigns are launched in an attempt to educate the public on the impact of smoking and build awareness.

Tobacco Research Topics

It is common for research-based organizations to adopt nicotine testing to monitor test subjects for nicotine use. Latest exploration into the effects of tobacco include:

  • How smoking leads to the development of cancerous cells in the respiratory and cardiovascular system, as well as the oral tract (mouth, tongue, gums, etc.)
  • How smoking during gestation affects the unborn fetus and can lead to developmental disorders in infants
  • The relationship between smoking and addiction, and how smoking may accompany signs of mental health problems
  • How cigarette smoking affects workplace productivity due to the frequency of breaks
  • Trends in the tobacco industry with new products and flavors pivoted towards children

Smoking in Hospitals

It was commonplace to smoke throughout hospital wards in spite of how it affected surrounding patients because the risks of tobacco smoke were not well-understood.

Thanks to emerging research, smoking is now strictly banned in clinical settings where patients may be exposed to secondhand smoke, which is arguably more lethal than first-hand smoke.

Doctors and researchers now seek to understand the impact of tobacco-modified products (i.e. vape pens) on the development of young people. Nicotine testing can help to examine the effects of vaping on young bodies.

Smoking in Parks

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is hazardous to public health, and secondhand smoke is a known cause of death. Environmental tobacco smoke can dramatically destroy the integrity and sanctity of natural spaces, which has prompted smoking bans in national parks and reserves.

Smoking in Public Places

Public smoking bans are an ongoing global frontier; however, some countries still refuse to implement restrictions on places like restaurants and bars. Throughout the course of the 2000’s, many cities across the United States imposed bans, while still providing separate accommodations for smokers in designated areas.

Trends in Smoking

Cigarettes used to be in vogue with the display of attractive advertisements and packaging. Laws are in place to present health warning labels which contribute to the decline in cigarette sales. Recently though, the tobacco industry has geared efforts towards vaping. Vape pens use refillable flavored nicotine cartridges and are very popular among young people and those attempting to quit smoking.

Are Vape Pens Bad For You?

Vape pens are available in different formats, including nicotine-based wax cartridges, as well as nicotine-free cartridges.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to determine which cartridges actually contain nicotine or not, since independent retailers have popped up all over the place to sell these products.

In an effort to stay afloat, tobacco companies market vaping towards children with tantalizing flavors which also serves to make vaping seem less hazardous.

How to Prevent Smoking

Smoking is not simply a bad habit. Smoking should be viewed as a threat leading to serious illnesses, such as lung cancer, heart diseases and pregnancy complications in smokers and their loved ones. Teens should keep themselves in an environment free of addiction while immersing themselves in healthy activities, like sports and better education.

Benefits of Qualitative Nicotine Testing

Depending on your organizational needs, it may be sufficient to implement qualitative nicotine testing instead of quantitative nicotine testing, which can seem more complicated when interpreting results.

It’s very easy to administer a qualitative nicotine test such as the NicConfirm Instant Mouth Swab Cotinine Test, which generates results in as little as 5-10 minutes upon sample collection.

Nicotine Testing Instructions

  1. Obtain saliva specimen from the donor using the swab.
  2. Saturate the swab until the color indicator turns red.
  3. Reinsert the swab into the test kit securely.
  4. Wait 5-10 minutes for panels to react to the specimen.
  5. Peel label and interpret results.
  6. If no line appears in the Test Region (T), nicotine has been detected in the specimen.

Qualitative nicotine testing can be an effective way to maintain a zero-tolerance workplace policy and encourage productivity in the workplace.

Benefits of Quantitative Nicotine Testing

Quantitative nicotine tests are performed no different than a standard drug test. Results are more detailed than using a qualitative test; however, more experienced interpretation is necessary.

Quantitative Nicotine Test

Colored strips indicate positive or negative test results. If the test is quantitative, such as the NicAlert Instant Nicotine Test Kit, results are interpreted with a chart that illustrates the amount of exposure to nicotine. These tests can also be applied to determine the possibility of secondhand smoke exposure.

How to Read a Nicotine Test

  1. Obtain a saliva specimen from the donor.
  2. Wait 10 minutes to read results, or until the green band at the top of the strip disappears.
  3. Red lines will appear upon exposure to nicotine metabolites. The LOWEST level struck out illustrates the level of exposure to nicotine.