About one billion people, or about 20% of the world’s population, are smokers. Occasional smokers tend to smoke only when they drink. This can be a problem, since smoking can affect the breathalyzer test, in case you get pulled over by an officer.
Breathalyzer tests tend to show inaccurate results and get plenty of critics lately. And while this type of test may show intoxication, breathalyzer test results are not the clearest evidence in DUI cases. Smoking is considered as one of many factors that could affect breathalyzer results. A skilled DUI attorney will help you with your defense in such cases.
Factors For Inaccurate Breathalyzer Test Results
In some situations, the machine may be improperly calibrated, or the software may have a defect, but sometimes a physical factor with the person can lead to wrong results. One of these factors is smoking. Other factors may be health conditions, such as auto-brewery syndrome, where the body produces alcohol after the person consumes certain foods.
If a person is taking the test, the result may show a higher number than the legal limit. The breathalyzer test may show the wrong results if you vomited before the test. This is why the officer who manages the test should follow certain procedures before the test.
Here are some other factors that can affect the breathalyzer test.
- Empty stomach or keto diet – If you’re following the keto diet or consumed fewer carbohydrates before the test, or your stomach was empty, your glucose level might be low. Even a little bit of alcohol can stop the production of glucose, which can reduce the blood sugar and the production of acetone. Taking a breathalyzer test at that moment can show false results. If you have diabetes, the test may also show the wrong results, because of your body chemistry.
- Acid reflux – Let’s say you have burped within the last twenty minutes, or have acid reflux; in that case, the amount of alcohol in your breath is higher because the alcohol from the stomach found its way to your mouth. If this happened and you took a breathalyzer test, the reading might be much higher than it is.
- Mouthwash – You had one glass of alcohol and you see an officer on the road. The next thing you do is reach for your mouthwash to cover the smell of alcohol in your breath. This is a wrong idea; mouthwash contains alcohol, and doing a breath test after using mouthwash can easily show a higher BAC reading.
Smoking Can Influence The Breathalyzer Test Results
Breathalyzer tests can detect the presence of any compound that includes the methyl group in its molecular structure. Alcohol contains the methyl group, but this compound is also produced by the liver while it processes alcohol. It can also be produced in the lungs. So, the presence of acetaldehyde suggests that you have consumed alcohol, but scientists discovered that smoking cigarettes can provide higher concentrations of acetaldehyde in the lungs. This can happen in entirely sober people. If you’re a smoker who just made a breathalyzer test, it will show a higher concentration of acetaldehyde. So if you had a glass of alcoholic beverage, your test may show much higher concentration because of the cigarettes.
The same goes for chewing tobacco. Some types of chewing tobacco have raw ethanol, so if you were chewing tobacco and took the test, it’s going to affect the reading.
Unless you are on DUI probation or are younger than the age 21, you are not required to take a roadside breathalyzer test. If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will have to take a chemical breath or blood test. Blood tests give the most accurate results.
If you’re a smoker, it is better if you take a blood test. The results would serve you well; it will help your DUI defense attorney in your further case. If you find yourself in a situation where the breathalyzer test shows a higher result and you’re sure you did not drink (or at least you drank a small amount of alcohol), it’s time to call an attorney.
You can avoid taking the test, but expect to be arrested; you also risk having a license suspension of one year and other financial and administrative penalties. Our team at Trilogy Law Group is here to stand by your side. We offer you a first free case review. Call our office now and schedule your consultation.