Nicotine and Cotinine, Serum/Plasma

Test Code

CPT Codes
80323 (HCPCS: G0480)

Preferred Specimen
1 mL serum collected in a red-top tube (no gel)

Minimum Volume
0.5 mL serum or plasma • 2 mL whole blood

Other Acceptable Specimens
Plasma collected in: EDTA (lavender-top), or (royal blue-top) tube • 4 mL whole blood collected in: EDTA (lavender-top) tube

Spin and transfer serum or plasma into a plastic, screw-capped vial.

Transport Container
Plastic screw-cap vial

Transport Temperature
Refrigerated (cold packs)

Specimen Stability
Serum and plasma
Room temperature: 72 hours
Refrigerated: 21 days
Frozen: 30 days

Whole blood
Room temperature: 72 hours
Refrigerated: 21 days
Frozen: Unacceptable

Reject Criteria (Eg, hemolysis? Lipemia? Thaw/Other?)
Gross hemolysis • Serum Separator Tube (SST®)

Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

FDA Status
This test was developed and its analytical performance characteristics have been determined by Quest Diagnostics. It has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This assay has been validated pursuant to the CLIA regulations and is used for clinical purposes.

Setup Schedule
Set up: Mon-Sat evening; Report available: 3 days

Reference Range
Nicotine, Serum/Plasma
Smoker 2-10 ng/mL
Nonsmoker ≤4 ng/mL

Cotinine, Serum/Plasma
Smoker 16-145 ng/mL
Nonsmoker ≤8 ng/mL

Clinical Significance
This assay is used for the detection of nicotine and cotinine in serum and plasma to determine the tobacco exposure status of the individual. Nicotine has a short half-life of approximately forty minutes; its presence may indicate recent tobacco exposure. Cotinine, the major nicotine metabolite, has a half-life of 24 hours and is detectable for several days after cessation of tobacco exposure.

Performing Laboratory
Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute
14225 Newbrook Drive
Chantilly, VA 20153

The CPT Codes provided in this document are based on AMA guidelines and are for informational purposes only. CPT coding is the sole responsibility of the billing party. Please direct any questions regarding coding to the payor being billed. Any Profile/panel component may be ordered separately. Reflex tests are performed at an additional charge.