The Saliva SmokeScreen test is now being used as part of the PruHealth free Vitality Healthcheck programme to verify non-smoking in their policy holders, so they can qualify for relevant incentives. It requires the person taking the test to spit into a cup and the person conducting the test can then dip the test into the saliva. It cannot establish how many cigarettes a person has smoked, as people smoke different types of cigarettes and in different ways.
Dr Graham Cope, honorary senior research fellow at the University of Birmingham, said: Smoking is an important risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The saliva test can show whether a person has smoked within the last three days. The test could be used by doctors who are trying to help their patients give up the habit, as well as by health insurance companies working out their premiums.