You’ve probably heard that drug and alcohol testing can save your business money. But are you aware that alcohol and drugs of abuse aren’t the only substances you need to be testing for?
Though it’s a legal substance, tobacco can have just as negative of an impact on your workplace. With a cotinine test, you can save your company some of the costs associated with hiring a tobacco user.
Here’s what you need to know about nicotine testing in your workplace.
Save Costs With a Cotinine Test
What is a Cotinine Test?
Produced by the body from the nicotine in cigarette smoke, cotinine is a chemical that when measured can indicate how much cigarette smoke has entered someone’s body. Since the only way to produce cotinine is through inhaling cigarette smoke, your cotinine levels can indicate your smoking habits or the extent of your exposure to secondhand smoke.
In a continine test, samples of blood, hair, saliva, or urine are collected to determine the concentration of cotinine in the body. This can help determine if someone has smoked recently.
The levels detected in your cotinine test will vary depending on how often you smoke and when you last smoked. It can take up to 2 weeks for your blood cotinine test levels to drop to those of a nonsmoker, and several more for urine continine levels to subside as well. Generally, high cotinine test results show active tobacco (or nicotine replacement) use, while moderate indicate a tobacco user who has abstained for 2-3 weeks. Low cotinine test levels can be indicative of secondhand smoke exposure by a non-smoker. Low cotinine concentration can be found in non-smokers or in smokers who have abstained from nicotine use for several weeks.
How Can Nicotine Testing Save My Business Money?
According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, adding the cotinine test to your workplace drug testing program can have countless economic benefits, not to mention the health benefits for your workers.
Lower Insurance Costs
Per the American Cancer Society, smoking employees average $1,145 in health insurance costs compared to $762 for non-smokers. And keep in mind that non-smokers can have health problems thanks to secondhand smoke, making their health costs go up, too.
Since smokers live an average of 13 years less than non-smokers, you also have to deal with more frequent life insurance payouts. Additionally, fire insurance companies often offer a discount — sometimes up to 30% — for smoke-free companies.
With a cotinine test, you can cut insurance costs and help improve your workers’ health.
Smokers miss 60% more work days annually due to sickness, which includes acute and chronic conditions exacerbated by tobacco use. Frequent smoke breaks — four 10-minute sessions a day — add up to one month each year; that’s a lot of unproductive time! Adding a cotinine test to your workplace wellness program can help you identify employees who would benefit most from a tobacco cessation program.
Lower Worker’s Compensation Claims
On average, businesses pay out $2,189 in worker’s compensation to smoking employees. That’s over 12 times the cost for non-smokers, $176. Investing in a cotinine test enables employers to evaluate the need for tobacco cessation programs and smoke-free workplace policies that could lower worker’s comp claims.
Prevent Early Retirement
Since smoking can make employees develop certain damaging medical conditions, including heart disease and emphysema, employees may be driven to early retirement. This means you’ll have to invest resources in recruiting and training new employees to cover premature retirees. When your employees submit to a cotinine test, you’ll be able to see the percentage of tobacco users in each department, helping you make plans for impending retirements and consider the need for smoke-free policies.
Cigarettes and other smoking materials can cause worksite fires. In 1998 alone, smoking materials were the cause of 8,700 fires with property damage totaling $60.5 million. A simple cotinine test can help deter your workers from smoking on the job.
Save on Building Costs
When smoking is allowed on your company’s premises, you’ll see a 7% increase in maintenance and construction costs. Cleaning expenses can go down by as much as 10% when a building is declared smoke-free. After you institute a no smoking rule to prevent costly property damage or cleaning fees, you can ensure adherence to the regulation with a cotinine test.
In some workplaces, non-smoking employees have filed lawsuits against businesses who allow smoking on their premises due to medical conditions related to secondhand smoke inhalation. Because employees or customers with respiratory issues can have problems with workers smoking at your place of business, it can actually be a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act to allow smoking on site. When you add the cotinine test to your drug testing or workplace wellness program, you can ensure that employees are following your smoke-free workplace policy, better equipping you for any legal action.
Get a Cotinine Test for Your Northland or Kansas City Workplace
ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North can serve as your cotinine test expert when you decide to cut costs and incorporate nicotine testing into your workplace. We are well-versed in Kansas and Missouri laws and can help employers navigate non-discrimination laws that protect smokers’ rights. In addition to policy creation and implementation, we can conduct any cotinine test you need, individually or as a part of our biometric screening.
To learn more about getting a cotinine test added to your workplace wellness or drug testing program, call ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City North today at (816) 399-4597.