E-cigarettes are often odorless, easy to hide, and come in fruity flavors.
According to the U.S. surgeon general, one in five high schoolers vape regularly, and many of them don't realize that they're inhaling nicotine.
"It would be in between classes or any time before or after school, really," said high school senior Crystal Farris. "They go to the bathroom or even outside where the teachers can't see them."
Sorry, kids. If you're under 18, parents don't need your permission to test you for nicotine.
"I'm still your mother," explained Tania Monroy, a mother of three who said she would test her kids if she suspected they were vaping. "So, we're here to protect you, and to help you grow, and become useful in society, and that's not a path to go down."
"Your body metabolizes nicotine into cotinine. That's what we actually test for," explained John Moellenkamp, the owner of Any Lab Test Now! in Pearland. "We can test in the blood, the urine, saliva, or hair."
Here is a breakdown of test for cotinine:
- Urine Test: Good choice if a parent suspects his or her child has used nicotine over the last few days. An instant test is available, and parents can get results within five to 10 minutes. Pricing starts at $19.
- Blood Test: A simple blood draw can detect traces of nicotine about two hours after use. Test priced at $70.
- Hair Follicle Test: This is a good option for parents who think their child has been either vaping or smoking nicotine for a long period of time and the child might stop using it just to get through the test. It takes three days for nicotine to start showing in hair strands. A test of hair strands can determine if someone has used nicotine as far back as three months. Tests cost $120.
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