Nicotine – Cotinine
Nicotine, or its primary metabolite cotinine, is most often tested to evaluate tobacco use. Long-term smoking of tobacco products can increase the risk of developing many diseases including lung cancer, COPD, stroke, heart disease, and respiratory infections. Long-term tobacco use can also exacerbate asthma and help promote blood clot formation. In pregnant women, smoking can impair growth of the developing baby and lead to low birth weight babies.
In the blood, the nicotine level can rise within a few seconds of a puff on a cigarette. How much it rises depends on the amount of nicotine in the cigarette and the manner in which a person smokes, such as how deeply he or she inhales. The rate at which nicotine is metabolized and cotinine is cleared from the body also varies from person to person due to some genetic differences.
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