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I smoke 15 cig a day for 10 years I

Patient: I smoke 15 cig a day for 10 years… I have urine cotinine test for life insurance . I will have not smoked for 9 days prior to test…I’m 40, exercise regularly, and healthy and drink 100oz of water daily…will I pass the urine test?



Doctor: Hello,Thank you for your query at AskTheDoctor.comUnfortunately cotinine have been found to be positive in smokers f or almost up to 2-3 weeks after stopping smoking.So, it is unlikely it won’t be detected in your test.Some people clear it almost in a week, but traces have been found up to 2-3 weeks of last smoking activity.Feel free to discuss further.



Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Cotinine is found in non smokers as well….Given the half life of about 24 hours of cotinine in a person, 9 days is about 9 half lives… all things being equal a starting point of 8000 ng/ml should be 16 ng/ml… question is can my cotinine level be under say 100 ng/ml in 9 days of no smoking? given what is known

Doctor: Yes, given what is known it would be below 100 ng/ml. Only traces can be found after 9 days of complete cessation of smoking.

Patient: what is the passing lab standered level for life insurance companies for cotinine in urine?

Doctor: They accept anything below 5 ng/ml, however it varies between 5-10 across labs.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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