An evaluation of a rapid semi-quantitative saliva test for cotinine and other nicotinic metabolites to identify and monitor the use of smokeless tobacco: A pilot study
Leena Sankla, Dr Graham Cope and Professor Iain Chapple
Dr Asiya Kaiser Clinical Lead & Project Manager, Solutions 4 Health Ltd, Reading
Dr Graham Cope Director, GFC Diagnostics Ltd
Professor Iain Chapple Head, Department of Periodontology, University of Birmingham.
Smokeless tobacco (ST), such as the betel quid, causes oral cancer. It is used widely by the ethnic BME groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The identification of users and the measurement of intake by expired air CO measurements is impossible as no CO is generated. An alternative is the measurement of cotinine in saliva. The aim of this study was to evaluate a rapid colorimetric saliva test for cotinine and other nicotine metabolites in a group of smokeless tobacco users. Volunteers (n=45, 24 male, age range 21-65 years) were recruited from areas of Portsmouth, Southampton and East London. Saliva was collected and 1 ml of sample was added to the Saliva SmokeScreen test which after a few minutes turned shades of pink if cotinine and other nicotine metabolites were present. After 10 minutes the test colour was compared against a 3-point colour chart. All smokeless tobacco users tested positive, giving a sensitivity of 100%. Male users were found to have higher cotinine levels. This study concluded that the SmokeScreen test could detect ST use with a high degree of sensitivity. A larger study is planned to incorporate the test to improve methods of educating and engagement among ST users.
Source of funding: Solutions 4 Health & GFC Diagnostics Ltd
Declaration of interest: Solutions 4 Health has no commercial interest in the Smokscreen test. However, GFC Diagnostics manufacture Smokescreen as a product.