Can Smoking Affect Your Breathalyzer Test Results?

September 28, 2021

Can Smoking Affect Your Breathalyzer Test Results?

If you have been driving rather erratically due to one reason or another, there is a high chance that you will be pulled over by a police officer for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug.

A typical course of action is that the officer might ask you to put your hands above your head and talk to you. If they notice that your speech is slurred or if you are acting weirdly, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

The test is done to check for traces of alcohol in your breath. However, there are several different foreign compounds in your body that can influence attempts to measure the blood alcohol levels in your body.

If you have been working with paint, there is a chance that you will fail a breathalyzer test. Moreover, individuals with zinc deficiencies and those who smoke have a relatively higher blood alcohol concentration. Moreover, asthma inhalers operate primarily by injecting a mist containing a substantial quantity of alcohol into the lungs. This can also skew the results of your breathalyzer test.

Smoking Can Skew A Breathalyzer Test

According to a recent scientific study, cigarette smoking can influence your body’s ability to absorb alcohol. Hence, if you have been smoking, any attempt to estimate the blood alcohol levels of your body will be skewed.

Researchers reported that when testing blood samples of a group of smokers for blood alcohol levels both after smoking and after prolonged abstinence, the result read,

“areas under the venous blood alcohol concentration-time curves between zero and 30 minutes and 60 minutes and the peak blood alcohol concentrations were significantly less during the smoking period compared with the non-smoking period.”

Scientists detailed that the effects of smoking on alcohol absorption have a “considerable social and medicolegal relevance,” and that the ingestion of nicotine should be taken into consideration when dealing with alcohol metabolism.

Breath Machines Detect All Compounds

Another thing to take into consideration at this point is that breath machines can give false readings when the subject is a smoker. These machines are designed to report the presence of any compound containing the methyl group, not just alcohol.

The metabolism of alcohol by the liver produces Acetaldehyde. The same component is also found to metabolize in the lungs when alcohol moves from the blood to the lungs. Studies show that the acetaldehyde concentrations in the lungs of smokers are far greater than for non-smokers. Hence, it can easily appear in a breathalyzer test.

Hence, if you are a smoker, your breathalyzer results can show that you have been drinking, even if you have not been.

What Can You Do?

The best way to deal with this situation is by knowing the facts. Moreover, if you haven’t been drinking but were pulled over, try to be cooperative and avoid being aggressive towards the officer. Take the breathalyzer test and demand a blood alcohol test.

However, if you have a lawyer, it is best not to say anything and use your one call to call your lawyer and let them deal with the problem.

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