Quitting Smoking

How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System?

Nicotine, that famous constituent in tobacco that makes it so addictive. How long does nicotine stay in your system? We will go into some analysis here about the effects of nicotine on your body.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is an alkaloid that is naturally produced in the nightshade family of plants such as tobacco.

It is widely used as a stimulant. As a pharmaceutical drug, it is used to quit smoking by relieving tobacco withdrawal symptoms. 

Some common effects of nicotine are:

  • Lower appetite.
  • More active mood.
  • Increased intestinal activity.
  • More saliva and phlegm.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Higher blood pressure.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.

Nicotine is a stimulant drug. It can speed up messages between the brain and body. It is the main psychoactive ingredient in tobacco products.

Where does nicotine come from?

Nicotine comes from the tobacco plant, native to the Americas.

Nicotine was named after Jean Nicot de Villemain, a French diplomat that introduced tobacco to the Queen of France.

The Queen used it to treat her headaches. Tobacco was once thought to have medicinal qualities.

Christopher Columbus received a gift of dried tobacco leaves when he arrived in the Bahamas. He also brought tobacco leaves and seeds back to Europe.

For a period tobacco was the number one export of the American colonies.

What types of nicotine are there?

For the most part, products that contain nicotine are tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco.

There are also smoking cessation products such as patches and gums that contain nicotine.

Nicotine also occurs naturally in very small amounts in some edible plants.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System will also depend on how you ingest it.

In what ways can we consume/ingest nicotine?

Nicotine is an alkaloid found in tobacco and other members of the nightshade family. This includes edible plants such as eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.

Humans have consumed nicotine for thousands of years. Tobacco cultivation started in the Americas around 6,000 B.C.

These peoples were most likely smoking or chewing tobacco.

Is nicotine harmful?

Some experts conclude that consuming nicotine alone is not the main cause of smoking-related health problems. Other chemicals in tobacco, and particularly in cigarettes, have known carcinogens.

As far back as the 17th century, doctors discovered links between tobacco use and diseases such as cancer.

Using nicotine in cigarettes was once thought to be the main addictive element in tobacco. New evidence reveals that other chemicals also play a large role in addiction.

In what way is nicotine harmful?

Nicotine has been identified as one of the main additives elements in tobacco.

Nicotine on its own can harm different organs as proven in human and animal studies.

Negative effects include damage to the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems.

Nicotine may also provoke cancer.

It can lead to an increment in blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries.

Nicotine can contribute to the hardening of arterial walls, which may lead to a heart attack.

In what way is nicotine not harmful?

Many experts state nicotine itself does not cause cancer. It’s addictive properties get people hooked on cigarettes.

Other chemicals in tobacco smoke (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco-specific nitrosamine) lead to DNA damage and cancer.

Benefits of nicotine?

Recent studies revealed that nicotine by itself may actually have medicinal benefits.

Nicotine, like caffeine, may even have positive effects. As a stimulant, it raises the heart rate and increases the speed of sensory information processing. It can help to ease tension and many reports it sharpens the mind.

Experiments around the world are being carried out with nicotine to treat depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Laxative effect

Many people consider that nicotine and other stimulants like caffeine have the same effect on the bowels. They can cause an acceleration of bowel movements, which may be convenient in certain cases.

What happens when you absorb nicotine?

If you smoke or chew tobacco, nicotine is absorbed into your bloodstream.

After that, enzymes in your liver break down most of the nicotine to become cotinine.

These substances are gradually eliminated through your kidneys as urine. The answer to the question: “How long does nicotine stay in your system” depends mainly on kidney function.

What does nicotine do?

Initially, nicotine may improve your mood and concentration. It is reported to decreases anger and stress, relax muscles and reduce appetite.

A person that takes regular doses of nicotine, may suffer changes in the brain, with nicotine withdrawal symptoms when nicotine is absent.

How long does nicotine stay in your system?

So, how long does the nicotine last in your body?

Blood test

In most cases, nicotine will leave your blood 1-3 days after you stop using tobacco.

Cotinine is a chemical your body produces after nicotine enters the blood. This will be gone after 1-10 days.

Urine test

Neither nicotine nor cotinine will show up in your urine after 3-4 days.

If you smoke menthol cigarettes, cotinine may stay for longer in your urine.

Saliva test

A saliva test can detect continine for up to 4 days.

Hair test

Hair testing is very effective to prove long-term tobacco use. It can be accurate for up to 1-3 months after you quit smoking.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System – If we are talking about hair, in some cases nicotine can be detected in hair samples for up to 12 months.


Nicotine has an elimination half-life of approximately 2 h in humans. This value varies from 1 to 4h in certain cases.

This is relatively short. Nicotine’s metabolites have a quick and small reaction compared to other chemicals. This may be a major reason why people addicted to nicotine feel the urge to smoke frequently.

What happens when nicotine leaves the body?

Nicotine and its metabolites are mostly eliminated in urine, through the kidneys.

Approximately 10% of nicotine and 10% of cotinine are flushed out in urine without being metabolized, although the process depends on pH levels.

How long does nicotine stay in your system conclusions

For the most part, the negative effects of nicotine seem to outweigh the positive.

Although nicotine and tobacco use has had a long history with humans, it may not necessarily be beneficial.

Thinking of quitting smoking? Why not try yoga as a path to stay clear of cigarettes.

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