How a Cotinine Test Can Help Your Company Save Money

You’ve probably heard that drug and alcohol testing can save your business money. But did you know that drugs and alcohol aren’t the only substances that can have a negative impact on your office? Though it’s a legal substance, tobacco can have a bad effect on your workplace. With a cotinine test, you can save your company some of the costs associated with hiring a smoker.

Here’s what you need to know about nicotine testing in your workplace.

Save Costs With a Cotinine Test

What is a Cotinine Test?

Cotinine is a chemical that can indicate how much cigarette smoke has entered someone’s body when it is measured. Because the only way to produce cotinine is through inhaling cigarette smoke,  cotinine levels can indicate a person’s smoking habits or the extent of someone’s exposure to secondhand smoke. A cotinine test collects samples of blood, hair, saliva, or urine to determine the concentration of cotinine in the body. This can help determine if someone has smoked recently.

Generally, high cotinine test results show active tobacco (or nicotine replacement) use, while moderate levels indicate a tobacco user who has abstained for 2-3 weeks. Low cotinine test levels can be indicative of secondhand smoke exposure by a non-smoker. Low cotinine concentration can be found in non-smokers or in smokers who have not used nicotine use for several weeks.

How Can Nicotine Testing Save My Business Money?

Lower Insurance Costs

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking employees average $1,145 in health insurance costs compared to $762 for non-smokers. It’s important to keep in mind that the effects from secondhand smoke can hurt nonsmokers and raise their insurance costs as well. A cotinine test can help you cut insurance costs and help improve your workers’ health.

Increase Productivity

Smokers miss 60% more work days every year because of sickness, which includes acute and chronic conditions aggravated by tobacco use. Frequent smoke breaks add up every year, resulting in a lot of unproductive time! Adding a cotinine test to your workplace wellness program can help you identify employees who would benefit most from learning how to quit tobacco use.

Prevent Early Retirement

Smoking can develop certain damaging medical conditions including heart disease and emphysema. Employees that smoke may be driven to early retirement. Companies may need to prepare for recruiting and training new employees to cover premature retirees. A cotinine test will help you be able to see the percentage of tobacco users in each department, helping you make plans for impending retirements and consider the need for smoke-free policies.

Prevent Accidents

Cigarettes and other smoking materials can cause worksite fires. Smoking materials were the cause of 8,700 fires in 1998 with $60.5 million in property damage. A simple cotinine test may help deter your workers from smoking.

Avoid Lawsuits

In some workplaces, employees who don’t smoke have sued their places of employment that allow smoking on their premises. These employees cited medical conditions related to secondhand smoke inhalation. Allowing smoking on the premises can actually be a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act because of the health risks for people with respiratory issues who have to work around smokers. Adding the cotinine test to your drug testing or workplace wellness program can ensure that employees are following your smoke-free workplace policy, better protecting your business in the case of legal action.

Get a Cotinine Test for Your Workplace

Test Smartly Labs can serve as your cotinine test expert when you decide to incorporate nicotine testing into your workplace. We are well-versed in Kansas and Missouri laws and can help employers navigate non-discrimination laws that protect smokers’ rights. In addition to policy creation and implementation, we can conduct any cotinine test you need, individually or as a part of our biometric screening.


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