What is Cotinine?
Cotinine is the first-stage metabolite of nicotine, a toxic alkaloid that stimulates the autonomic ganglia and central nervous system in humans. Nicotine is a drug to which virtually every member of a tobacco-smoking society is exposed whether through direct contact or second-hand inhalation. Aside from tobacco, nicotine is also commercially available as the active ingredient in smoking replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, transdermal patches and nasal sprays. Although nicotine is excreted in saliva, the relatively short half-life of the drug makes it an unreliable marker for tobacco use. Cotinine, however, demonstrates a substantially longer half-life than nicotine, bears a high correlation with plasma cotinine levels and has been found to be the best marker for smoking status compared with saliva nicotine measurements, breath carbon monoxide testing and plasma thiocyanate testing. The window of detection for cotinine in saliva at a cutoff level of 30 ng/mL is expected to be up to 1-2 days after nicotine use. Google
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