How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System (Blood, Urine, Hair)?
As health hazards continue to rise due to smoking, many people are trying to find a way to kick their habit and go back to a healthy lifestyle. But as they make efforts to quit smoking, people often wonder how long does nicotine stay in their system.
What is Nicotine?
For the uninitiated, nicotine is one of the ingredients of tobacco products (such as cigarettes). It is an alkaloid toxin that is extremely addictive in nature. The chemical is extracted from some plants of the Solanaceae family. It acts as a stimulant in tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, snuff etc. It is also found in small doses in potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers and eggplants. However, consumption of these foods does not result in addiction. This is primarily due to the fact that it is present in so small quantities in such eatables that addiction is not possible. But tobacco products contain nicotine in high enough amounts to result in stimulation.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System?
The answer to this is not a simple one. Once it enters your system, nicotine is processed in your liver by a chemical known as Cytochrome P450. Although it attempts to remove all traces of the substance quickly, the time taken by your system to get cleared of nicotine actually depends on factors like:
- The amount of your nicotine intake
- The duration of your nicotine intake
Generally, a dose of nicotine lasts in your system for only a short time – usually less than 24 hours. Your body clears itself of much of the substance within 48 hours after you have smoked for the last time. However, a number of physiological and other factors prevent fast removal of nicotine from your system.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your Urine?
The substance can stay in your system for anywhere from 3 days to a few months. The duration for which it lasts depends on factors like:
- How much you smoke?
- How long you have been smoking for
- What type of nicotine test you are undergoing?
Employers and organizations generally conduct a Urinalysis to find out the level of nicotine in the system. If you smoke only occasionally and your nicotine intake is only limited to one or two cigarettes (or similar tobacco products) even when you do, the nicotine is likely to go out of your system in 3-4 days. A test conducted after this period is likely to find you free of all traces of nicotine.
The substance takes a longer duration to clear away from the system of people who smoke on a regular basis, or have been using tobacco products for a long time. The last traces of nicotine get removed by the end of 1-2 weeks. However, long time smokers would take 20 days or more to get their system completely cleared.
If you are an average tobacco user, and not a heavy smoker with a prolonged history of smoking, you may go for a urinalysis after a period of 20 days.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your Blood?
Blood tests tend to detect much smaller amounts than urinalysis. Therefore, the time period gets a bit longer in such exams. Blood examinations aim at measuring the amount of Cotinine in the body. Cotinine is the substance that nicotine is metabolized, or converted into, once it enters blood due to smoking tobacco products. As the human body does not clear blood as fast as the urine, blood tests can detect nicotine in your system for longer duration than urine tests.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your Hair?
Hair testing can reveal traces of the substance through an analysis of your hair follicles. This is an expensive test and is used only rarely. However, this is an extremely effective exam. It can reveal nicotine in your system even months after you have stopped smoking. The test is used when an accurate detection is considered to be necessary.
The hair follicle test can be carried out even 1-3 months after you have smoked for the last time. It may even show results for an entire year. In this type of test, a strand of hair from the head is usually taken for examination. In bald people, however, hair may be taken and analyzed from the arms, legs, face, armpits or any other hairy region of the body.
A tobacco test is the best option for finding out whether a person smokes or not. During tobacco tests, the detection of cotinine is the main aim of examination. The rate at which cotinine is removed from your system depends on your metabolism. This rate of cotinine removal tends to vary from person to person. In some individuals, the body is not able to break down nicotine as readily into cotinine as in others. This actually happens in cases where a person smokes less as maintaining a steady nicotine level in the system requires taking fewer cigarettes.
How to Naturally Clear Nicotine from Your System?
Natural removal of nicotine, or rather Cotinine (its degraded form), from the body is possible by adopting measures like:
Drinking plenty of water
Having at least 8-10 glasses of water can naturally flush all toxins out of your body. The detoxification process speeds up metabolic activities in the body by removing all traces of Cotinine from the system.
Intake of high amounts of fruits, rich in Vitamin-C, can work as powerful antioxidants and metabolize the drugs present in the system. It can help the body get rid of nicotine in this way.
Rigorous exercise and intense physical activities can boost metabolism and speed up the degradation of nicotine in the body. The degraded product is eliminated from the body through urine.
Adopting such measures can help your body remove all traces in a natural way and boost your health. Nicotine is one of the main addictive ingredients of tobacco products. Kicking your habit is the only way you can keep your system completely free of this substance.