How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System?

Nicotine is a chemical compound found in tobacco and is responsible for making it addictive. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine is absorbed through the wall lining of the small air sacs in the lungs. When sniffed or chewed, it is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth. Nicotine can also be absorbed through the skin. If you’re an occasional smoker or are trying to quit smoking, you may wonder how long nicotine stays in your system. There are many factors that determine nicotine levels in your body after you’ve had your last smoke.

Nicotine In Different Parts Of Your Body

Blood: When you smoke a cigarette, 1 mg of nicotine enters your blood. The nicotine will totally be gone within 1-3 days after your last using tobacco.

Urine: The urine test normally can detect nicotine level within 3-4 days after the last time you use tobacco. However, if you often smoke or you are passive smokers, nicotine can stay for a period of 15 to 20 days in urine. After this period, no traces of nicotine can be found in


Saliva: Nicotine stays in your saliva up to 4 days.

Hair: Nicotine can stay in hair for months instead of for days. There are cases where hair tests have detect nicotine for up to a year. However, nicotine is normally found within 1-3 months after you stop smoking.

Influencing Factors

While the information above gives you a broad idea, there are a few other factors that determine how long nicotine stays in your system.

1. The Frequency Of Usage

It is obvious that regular tobacco users have more nicotine level in the body than people who use infrequently. Based on the frequency of usage, tobacco users are divided into 3 categories:

Light Users: These are people who smoke just once a week; nicotine will be detected within 2 – 3 days after using.

Medium Users: These people only smoke one to three times a week. Their nicotine level detected in the body is a little higher than the first group.

Heavy Users: They are addicted to nicotine or can consume nicotine

on a continuous basis. When being tested, the nicotine level in this group will be found within 10 days or even more after having consumed it for the last time.

2. Individual Variation

Nicotine elimination from also depends on several different factors. Here are few you should know.

Diet: Nicotine reaches your blood just 7 seconds after smoking. Nicotine metabolism depends on your meals, posture, exercises or drugs. After you’ve had your meal, hepatic blood flow increases about 30% and as a result, the nicotine elimination rises up to 40%. Menthol also affects nicotine metabolism. It is reported that menthol can inhibit nicotine metabolism in human liver. It has been found that metabolism of nicotine in mentholated cigarette smokers is inhibited more when compared with that in non-mentholated cigarettes smokers.

Age: Age also plays an important role in affecting the amount of time a body needs to eliminate nicotine. When you are young, your liver can work well to clear poisons from your body. The older you are, the harder

the liver has to work.

Genes And Hormones: Gene variation can lead to the difference in the rate of nicotine metabolism. Asians, Africa, Americans metabolize nicotine more slowly than the Caucasians or Hispanics. Also, women can absorb nicotine more quickly than men can.

3. Time Of The Day

During a day, nicotine elimination variety can fluctuate approximately 17%. From 6 p.m. to 3 a.m is the period that the slowest clearance happens. Since the hepatic blood flow declines when you sleep, nicotine clearance also slows down.

4. Medications

Certain medications can also affect nicotine elimination. Pharmaceutical products that inhibit nicotine metabolism include rifampicin, dexamethasone, and phenobarbital. If you’re on any of these drugs, chances are that nicotine is going to stay in your system for longer.