9 doctors weighed in:

How do I test my teenager to see if they are smoking cigarettes?

9 doctors weighed in
David Escobar
Family Medicine
5 doctors agree

In brief: Best to ask

The best thing to do is to ask your teenager if they are smoking.
Your doctor can run tests to see if nicotine is present in your teen's system, but most (if not all) physicians will not test teens for any sort of drug use without the teen's consent. So, this is really a conversation you should have with your teen, instead of a test. Honest communication is invaluable.

In brief: Best to ask

The best thing to do is to ask your teenager if they are smoking.
Your doctor can run tests to see if nicotine is present in your teen's system, but most (if not all) physicians will not test teens for any sort of drug use without the teen's consent. So, this is really a conversation you should have with your teen, instead of a test. Honest communication is invaluable.
David Escobar
David Escobar
Answer assisted by David Escobar, Medical Student
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Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Addiction Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: A good conversation?

There are urine tests for the major metabolite of nicotine, cotinine, and these are available over the counter. There are even some tests that can be put into toilet water. However, more important than knowing if s/he is smoking is having a good, honest, trust relationship with your teenager. Doing things without their knowledge or consent and behind their backs can do far more harm than good.

In brief: A good conversation?

There are urine tests for the major metabolite of nicotine, cotinine, and these are available over the counter. There are even some tests that can be put into toilet water. However, more important than knowing if s/he is smoking is having a good, honest, trust relationship with your teenager. Doing things without their knowledge or consent and behind their backs can do far more harm than good.
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
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