Am I still considered a smoker now?
I am not really sure if this is the proper place to post this....and I hope that there is someone who can light a darkened area. I am considering a new job and they asked if I was tobacco free. Now I realize that the insurance industry is a monster these days looking for any reason to cut costs on their end. Last year I would be considered a liability of a higher concern as a smoker. Now I only vape....going on for a couple of months now....not going back either ! Now here is the $10 million question. After a period of time to allow your body to rid itself of all the nasty carcinogens and various other chemicals contained in cigarettes, would it not be acceptable to be classified as a non-smoker? They will perform a blood test to verify that a candidate is tobacco free, and would like to know if nicotine is the main ingredient that is tested for. Now if it is....how does one go about explaining this to the inspecting physician that you do not consume cigarettes, cigars, or chew/dip any kind of the manufactured sorts available? Consider this.....you have quit smoking for some time- say 2 or 3 months. You have the urge and slip and buy a pack.....smoke 2 or 3 and throw them out. Now feeling the need again you go and get on a nicotine replacement such as the patch system. Now you are on this and face testing. Is this person also considered a non-smoker at this point? Even if they are on the patch for say a few months? I have not found any info to support this or a clear answer.......I think I have found myself a black hole in the system. Comments/suggestions welcomed.
If you don't smoke cigarettes you are not legally a smoker (no regulations applying to smokers apply to you since you do not combust plant materials, and medically you are not a smoker - your doctor will remove the 'smoker' note against your name). However it seems that the corporations who do these tests look for nicotine metabolytes in the bloodstream , and if any are found, you are classed as a smoker. This may be because you could simply be using patches or gum in order to try to defeat their tests; and of course over 90% of NRT users will revert to smoking anyway.
The only way to get around this that I know of is to take a letter from your doctor to the effect that you are receiving nicotine as a therapy for some unrelated condition. This option will not be available to most. In any case those conditions (such as Parkinson's or some mood issues) may of themselves create issues with job applications.
The only option that will work for most in this situation is to go cold turkey for 3 days to get all nicotine metabolytes out of your system . It's been suggested that drinking large amounts of water and fruit juice helps but I have no idea if this helps. You can also buy drug test defeat kits to help achieve this (just google for them - though I heard that some just contain detailed advice plus a ton of cranberry juice).
I have no problem at all with suggesting any of these methods, and supporting those who follow them, as if you are no longer a smoker then you will not suffer from the health and attendance issues that the corporation wishes to avoid. They should simply update their procedures to reflect new alternatives that have no health implications - Snus users for example have the same risk as non-smokers. We do not yet know if the same thing applies to e-cigarette users as Snus has 25 years of research, but the indications are that the result will be similar.
 I understand these tests look for cotinine, a nicotine metabolyte that can stay in the blood for a couple of days. Of course, everyone tests positive for nicotine or one of its metabolytes since it is an ingredient of many vegetables. The quantity is assessed, not simply its presence.
 You should probably avoid drinking tea, and eating aubergines and tomatoes, during this time as these contain more nicotine than alternatives.
Last edited by rolygate; 06-22-2011 at 12:21 PM.