If you’re wondering how long does nicotine stay in your system, you might be surprised to know that it varies and depends on many factors. In this blog, we attempt to break down and give you a close approximation to this answer and even tell you about the different types of tests that are used to detect nicotine. In the end, we hope you have a better understanding of the nicotine in your body and how long it lasts.
Table of Contents:
- Why Is It Important to Know How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System
- How Long Does Cotinine or Nicotine Stay in Your Body?
- How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Hair?
- How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Urine?
- How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Blood?
- How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Saliva?
- Factors that Affect Nicotine Duration In Your Body
- Things You Can Do To Test Negative
Why Is It Important to Know How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System
Believe it or not, many companies test brand new employees for nicotine. This is because they might be trying to determine how much insurance will cost, or maybe it is a corporate mandate that says every new employee must get tested.
Either way, if you are going to take this type of test, it’s important to know how long nicotine stays in your system. However, that might not be the correct way to look at it.
You see, nicotine is not what lab technicians are looking for when you take these types of tests. What they are looking for is a chemical named cotinine. Cotinine is formed after your body breaks down nicotine, and this is the main chemical that is tested for.
How Long Does Cotinine or Nicotine Stay in Your Body?
The length of time that cotinine (or any drug for that matters) stays in your body depends on nicotine’s half-life, with half-life meaning the amount of time it takes for 50% of the substance to leave your body. According to Mayo Medical Laboratories, nicotine is metabolized quickly and has a half-life of 2 hours, turning into or metabolizing into cotinine. And cotinine shows a half-life of 15 hours.
However, the time it remains detectable is a whole different story and depends on the types of tests that are used. These tests include hair, urine, blood, and saliva.
How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Hair?
Depending on the test, cotinine can be found in your hair for up to 90 days after intake (according to Drugrehab.com). With some tests reportedly being able to detect cotinine for up to a year. However, hair tests tend to be the slowest and most expensive. They are only used if the other tests come up as unclear.
How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Urine?
According to Drugrehab.com, it may take up to seven to ten days after you had your last cigarette or had your last vape. However, if you smoke or vape regularly, it may take up to three weeks for the cotinine to be flushed from your system. This is the fastest and most common type of test and the one that detects the most amount of cotinine.
How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Blood?
Again, according to Drugrehab.com, cotinine can be detected in your blood for up to ten days even after you have quit nicotine. Although blood testing for nicotine is more invasive, it is the most accurate form of testing and the one used in non-smokers.
How Long Can Nicotine or Cotinine Stay in Your Saliva?
Cotinine can last in your saliva for up to 4 days. This is by far the easiest method of detecting nicotine in your system.
Factors that Affect Nicotine Duration In Your Body
There are many factors that affect how long nicotine stays in your body. The length of time you have been smoking, your age, your sex, and your diet can all contribute to how long nicotine lasts in your metabolism.
For example, the older you are, the longer it takes for nicotine to leave your body. For women, the half-life of cotinine is shorter than in men. And meals can decrease nicotine concentrations in tobacco users—all of this, according to Drugrehab.com.
How To Pass a Nicotine Test
Although there are many products in the market that claim that they can flush nicotine out of your system, you shouldn’t rely on their effectiveness. To get rid of nicotine, you can drink lots of water and exercise. However, the best thing to do is to just let time pass by. If you can go a week without vaping or using nicotine, you should be okay; however, if you are a heavy smoker, you might need two weeks or more, according to Vaping360.com.
Nicotine and cotinine might leave your body quickly, but their traces, at least for cotinine, can last for up to 3 months. However, depending on the test you take, you might be able to pass the test if you aren’t a heavy smoker and you let a whole week pass without ingesting or using nicotine. However, as stated above, things like age, smoking history, sex, and diet can all drastically change how long nicotine stays in the system.