Nicotine and Metabolites, Serum or Plasma
Ordering Recommendation
Quantitative Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry
1-4 days  
New York DOH Approval Status
This test is New York DOH approved.
Submit With Order
Specimen Required
Patient Preparation
Plain red, green (sodium heparin), lavender (EDTA), pink (K2EDTA), or SST.  
Specimen Preparation
Separate serum or plasma from cells ASAP or within 2 hours of collection. Transfer 4 mL serum or plasma to an ARUP Standard Transport Tube. (Min: 1 mL)  
Storage/Transport Temperature
Unacceptable Conditions
Plasma or whole blood collected in lt. blue (sodium citrate). Specimens exposed to repeated freeze/thaw cycles.  
After separation from cells: Ambient: 1 week; Refrigerated: 2 weeks; Frozen: 3 years  
Reference Interval
Reference Ranges
Clinical Chemistry 48:9 1460-​1471, 2002
 Unexposed non-​tobacco user Passive exposure Abstinent user for more than 2 weeks Active tobacco product use
Nicotine Less than 2 ng/mL Less than 2 ng/mL Less than 2 ng/mL 30-​50 ng/mL
Cotinine Less than 2 ng/mL Less than 8 ng/mL Less than 2 ng/mL 200-​800 ng/mL
3-​OH-​Cotinine Less than 2 ng/mL Less than 2 ng/mL Less than 2 ng/mL 100-​500 ng/mL
Interpretive Data
Drugs covered: nicotine, cotinine, 3-OH-cotinine.

Positive cutoff:
2 ng/mL

The absence of expected drug(s) and/or drug metabolite(s) may indicate non-compliance, inappropriate timing of specimen collection relative to drug administration, poor drug absorption, or limitations of testing. The concentration value must be greater than or equal to the cutoff to be reported as positive. Interpretive questions should be directed to the laboratory.

For medical purposes only; not valid for forensic use.

See Compliance Statement B:  
CPT Code(s)
Component Test Code*Component Chart Name
0092362Nicotine, Serum or Plasma
0092363Cotinine, Serum or Plasma
00923643-OH-Cotinine, Serum or Plasma
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.
  • 3-Hydroxycotinine
  • Cotinine
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotine and Cotinine, LC/MS/MS, Serum/Plasma
  • Pain Management