How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System After Quitting?

Nicotine is the active ingredient present in cigarettes, which has a huge role to play in the addiction of smoking. It is a stimulant which imparts a false sense of calm and energy. It quickly absorbs into the bloodstream and reacts with the brain chemicals to bring about these effects.


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When you quit smoking, it is some time before your body is completely cleansed from this hazardous chemical. The exact time cannot be defined. According to studies, it varies from person to person. In some cases, it might take as little as two days while in others, a duration of three months might be required.

When nicotine finds its way into your body, it is changed into cotinine via the liver before it is passed out from the body via urine. The chemical can be detected in the blood, urine, saliva, and hair. Thus, you can check for nicotine levels via blood and urine tests to find out if your body is indeed cleansed.

Blood Test

Blood test for nicotine is found to be highly accurate. Usually, the test for nicotine is negative if it has been a couple of days since you have quit smoking. The other chemical, which is cotinine, remains detectable in the blood for around 10 days.

Urine Test

Urine tests are found to be the most common way for testing the nicotine levels in the body. For the test, a urine sample is collected and a test strip is dipped into it for five minutes. The test can be positive or negative. Usually, the test is negative four to five days after you have stopped smoking.

However, the case for passive smokers is slightly different. For them, the test may be positive for as long as 20 days.

Saliva Test

The saliva test for the presence of nicotine is said to be the most sensitive. A test strip is soaked into a saliva sample for 20 minutes. The test will be positive if it has been less than four days since smoking has been stopped.

Nicotine tends to remain in the hair for a long time, at least 1 to 3 months. Thus, testing the hair can be used to determine the long term usage of the chemical. However, it is an expensive test.

All in all, it is safe to say that it will take around a year at the most for nicotine to exit your body completely.