Abstract The thiocyanate (SNC) concentration in saliva is a biochemical measure frequently used as an objective indicator of tobacco consumption. However, variations in the volume of saliva can influence SNC levels, making it more difficult to ascertain the relation between tobacco consumption and SNC concentration. The goal of this study was to determine the extent to which salivary activity can influence SNC concentration in saliva among adolescents. We measured the SNC concentration in saliva and the salivary activity (using cotton dental rolls) of 592 students aged 14–17 years. The results of a stepwise regression analysis did not show any significant effect of the salivary activity on SCN levels.