2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
COTININE TESTING FOR TOBACCO ABUSE: INITIAL RIYADH EXPERIENCE.
Richard D. Nelson, Neria Gavrielov; Loma Linda University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(1) Background: Mentoring & monitoring for a tobacco free lifestyle must be a priority in the education of healthcare professionals. The leading cause of preventable death is cigarette smoking yet we find smoking rates remain high in healthcare staff in Saudi Arabia. Loma Linda University (LLU) promotes a tobacco free lifestyle for students and faculty in Saudi Arabia. In addition to educating the students on the negative social image of smoking, all students are tested for cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine. Cotinine urine testing is easy, economical and accurately reflects the presence of nicotine metabolism. (2) Material and methods: students are advised at least two weeks in advance of testing. Testing for Cotinine was by a lateral flow, one-step immunoassay, with a cut-off sensitivity level of 200 ng/ml. Students provided a urine sample with staff outside the bathroom stall. (3) Results: A random test group of 48 pre-advised students who stated in writing they did not smoke had a cotinine + rate of 15% (n=7). Further, it was noted if the negative score had two strong bands or one strong and one faint band (n=19) and students were questioned as to second hand smoke exposure. (4) Conclusion: A cotinine + result provides a rapid assessment of tobacco abuse, an opportunity for student counseling and evidence for requiring further cotinine testing to ensure a smoke free lifestyle. Weakly negative results allowed for discussion of second-hand smoke exposure providing an opportunity for involving the family in smoking cessation. The advance notice serves as a kind encouragement for students who smoke to experience two weeks without tobacco and maybe even kick the habit. Sponsored Research - None