When you think of nicotine, you think of cigarettes… Right? Once upon a time chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe were the only ways to get your nicotine fix but things have come a long way since then with nicotine gum, patches, inhalers and even electronic cigarettes. These all bring you a brand new way to ‘wean’ yourself away from the nicotine habit and eventually kick it for good.
Asking the question, “How long does nicotine stay in your system?” is wise when you want to quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, you’re probably well aware of the withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience when you don’t have a cigarette when your brain tells you, you need one.
What does nicotine do to the body?
Nicotine, in small doses, can work in much the same way as a stimulant, waking up your nervous system, making your mood better, increasing brain activity and even, to an extent, relieving depression if only for a short while. You feel good when you have a cigarette, when you get that nicotine boost to the body, and your brain gets used to that. That’s what makes it additive – those happy, boosted hormones make you want to smoke because your body feels less stressed right after.
Of course, at the same time, smoking cigarettes does a number of other things to the human body, none of them good. The nicotine isn’t actually that harmful to you, it’s everything else – all the other chemicals, that you’ll often find in a cigarette which proves to be harmful. Containing toxins and a whole range of other nasty components which poison the body, cancers, heart disease, stroke, lung problems, breathing difficulties, and more can all be contributed to smoking.
How long does nicotine stay in your blood?
The answer to the question will depend on how you’re testing.
If you were to perform a blood test, nicotine would be found in the blood for between one and three days after consuming a tobacco product, for example, smoking a cigarette.
You may find that the nicotine stays in your blood stream for longer if you are a regular smoker. If you are a heavy smoker, you can expect the nicotine to stay in your system for even longer. There are a number of other factors which will vary the time nicotine can still be found in your body, age, weight, height, general health and more just being a few.
If you were to perform a urine test, you may find that the nicotine can be traced for longer than just one to three days. Again, the above factors will determine how long exactly the chemical can be traced in your body but for the average non-smoking, (or rarely smoking) adult, nicotine can be found in the urine for up to five days. If you are more of a regular smoker, this goes to up around twenty days, and if you are a heavy smoker, you will find that number goes up again, possibly to a month or even more.
A little fact for you – menthol cigarettes seem to stick around longer in urine than their regular, tobacco counterparts.
The most accurate way of testing amounts of nicotine in the body is with the use of a saliva test but the trace won’t be found for long. You will find nicotine in the saliva for between ten hours and four days, depending on how much of a heavy smoker the patient was / is.
How to make nicotine get out of your blood quicker
There are a number of things you can do to try and encourage the nicotine to be removed from your body quicker and when you do this, you’ll find the withdrawal symptoms will be reduced too, making your quitting smoking journey a much easier process.
If you were to go into a steam room or sauna for the first three days after quitting for example, your body would be forced to sweat the nicotine out quicker, making it easier for you to overcome the cravings. Also, drinking more fluids can help to force toxins and other waste products out of the body much quicker, and avoiding people who smoke or avoiding passive (secondhand) smoking will also help you to get the drug out of your system as quickly as possible.
A healthy diet also helps to put the immune system in a better position to get rid of unwanted toxins and other compounds, and getting plenty of exercise can even help your cause, encouraging you to be able to breathe better as well as once again, forcing the nicotine out of your body with the use of sweat.