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Reasons and Procedure For Conducting a Nicotine Blood Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Given the easy availability of nicotine, combined with its very serious effects, it can be easily considered to be one of the most dangerous substances, not only to the individual indulging in it, but also for individuals in close proximity. Nicotine is the primary substance found in all forms of tobacco and is an addictive substance. As a result, individuals that are addicted to it, have a significantly hard time of kicking the habit. One of the major problems with the addiction is the fact that even though the ill effects of smoking are well documented, a lot of addicts tend to ignore the warning signs, and remain quite oblivious to the harm it is causing their system. Cigarettes, the most common source of nicotine, contain about 400 different chemical compounds and about 400 toxic substances. When a person lights a cigarette, the substances within are burning at 700 degrees Celsius at the tip and 60 degrees Celsius in the core. This intense heat breaks down the tobacco and produces some very harmful toxins that are then inhaled by the individual smoking the cigarette. Apart from the fact that nicotine shortens the lifespan of an individual significantly, it is also the direct cause of a number of other medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases like coronary thrombosis and cerebral thrombosis, as well as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Reasons Why a Nicotine Blood Test

Blood test and nicotine are a combination that helps a number of smokers better understand the complications their bodies are going to face rather soon. Moreover, nicotine blood testing is also commonly ordered if there is a suspected case of nicotine poisoning, whose symptoms include dizziness, nausea, weakness and drooling. When affected by more serious levels of nicotine poisoning, the affected individual is likely to face problems like significant difficulty in breathing and swallowing as well as a sudden increase and drop in blood pressure or heart rate.

Procedure

Like any blood test, the blood test for nicotine requires a blood sample to be extracted from a vein in the arm and this sample sent to the laboratory for testing. Before the sample is collected, the skin around the back of the elbow, where the syringe will be inserted is cleaned with an alcohol pad. A leather strap may also be fastened towards the top of the arm to restrict blood flow and cause the vein to swell up. This allows for better accuracy when puncturing the blood vessel. Once the blood is collected in the syringe, a cotton swab is placed over the puncture wound and the syringe withdrawn. The cotton swab serves to prevent significant loss of blood.

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