We describe a disposable, near-patient urine test to monitor cigarette smoking. A plastic device contains the sealed dried reagents to measure nicotine and its metabolites, by a colorimetric assay. The device can be used to give a qualitative assessment of tobacco consumption, simply by observing a colour change. Alternatively, the test can be quantified by measuring the light absorbance with a simple colorimeter, and a concentration of nicotinic metabolites obtained with reference to a cotinine standard. A correction factor for the concentration of the urine sample, based on light absorbance, allows the result to be expressed as a ratio to urine concentration. This method correlates with reported daily cigarette consumption (r = 0.69, p < 0.0001) and compares favourably with cotinine, as measured by gas chromatography (r = 0.89, p < 0.0001). The method provides a simple-to-use, inexpensive way to monitoring tobacco consumption in extralaboratory situations.