How long does Nicotine stay in your System? Blood, Urine, Hair Test For Nicotine

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical substance that is derived from certain specific plants belonging to the flowering nightshade plant family named Solanaceae which acts as a stimulant in tobacco containing products such as cigarettes, chews, cigar and snuff. It may also be found in small quantities in eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes and green peppers.

Picture 1 – Structure of Nicotine
Source –

Effects of Nicotine on the Body

As one smokes or takes a snuff, the nicotine in the substance reaches the bloodstream or the brain within a very short span of 5-7 seconds. The absorbtion of nicotine by the body depends on several factors, namely the type of tobacco inhaled or consumed, or the use of filter while smoking. However it has been found on analysis that the amount of nicotine absorbed by the body is much more in the case of chewing, dipping or snuffing tobacco rather than smoking cigarettes. Moreover mentholated cigarettes are found to increase the half-life of nicotine.

effects of nicotine
Picture 2 – Side-effects of Nicotine
Source – Wikipedia

Nicotine Addiction

The metabolites of nicotine that gets accumulated in the body fluids are nicotine isomethonium ion, nicotine glucuronide, nornicotine, nicotine N’-oxide, 2-hydroxynicotine and cotinine. Among these cotinine is the major metabolite affecting the body by giving rise to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which make it the hardest of addictions to get rid of. Usually a cigarette is found to contain around 1 mg of nicotine which means that just a pack of cigarette contains around 20 mg of nicotine, enough to cause great harm to the body of a chain smoker by its excess accumulation. The most common symptoms of nicotine addiction are depression, gain of weight, impatience, irritation, slow rate of heart beat, difficulty in concentration, hostile attitude and anxiety. However, there are several ways as to detect nicotine in the body.

Nicotine Drug Test

In order to know the fact as to how long nicotine stays in your system, you need to remember the duration of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Usually nicotine persists in the body for 2-4 days but in some cases it may also last for a few months. However, in the case of passive smoking the nicotine remains in the body for a long time. The presence of nicotine is usually detected in the urine, blood, and hair follicle through medical tests.

Urinal Drug Test

Inorder to find out the traces of nicotine in your body as well as to know how long does nicotine stay in urine, one needs to undergo a urinal drug test or urinalysis which is based on the immunoassay technology which detects the samples of such addictive products in urine. For those who smoke occasionally, nicotine persists in the body for only 3-4 days only. But for those who are passive smokers the traces of nicotine can be found for as long as 15-20 days.

In this test the urine of the person is collected in a specially designed sealed cup, which is tamper proof and sent to a drug testing laboratory. Then the urine is is splitted into aliquots and then screened under the immunoassay and the GC-MS process. Then the result is relayed to a Medical Review Office where it is carefully scrutinised by a medical expert. However, now there are several mechanisms to test the presence of drugs instantly with the help of urine drug testing kits.

Blood Test for Nicotine

The answer to the question as to how long does nicotine stay in your blood rests on the fact that it gets transformed into a metabolite called cotinine which mixes in the blood and affects the body. The liver slowly detoxifies the body by removing the toxins from the blood whereas the kidney flushes out the waste products out of the body in the form of urine and stool which takes place at a much faster pace. The blood tests can detect even the slightest traces of nicotine in the bloodstream.

Nicotine Hair Test

Although this test is expensive and not often recommended for employees, yet it is used for accurate analysis of the traces of nicotine in the body due to its ability to trace the presence of potentially toxic elements. The hair follicle test can be conducted even after 30-90 days of smoking or may even last a year. In this kind of test normally the hair on the head is taken for analysis but in cases of baldness, the hair belonging to the face, arms, armpits, legs or any other body parts can act as a substitute. This is a specialized test usually used when all other forms of tests are unsatisfactory.

Picture 3 – Cigarette
Source –

How to Effectively clear the Nicotine from the Body

There are several suggestions as to how to get rid of such addictives of the body.

  • The best way to clean the body of the nicotine is to drink atleast 8-10 glasses of water per day as it facilitates the process of detoxification including the flushing out of the nicotine substances by the pacing up of the metabolic activities in the body.
  • Secondly, fruits containing Vitamin C act as an efficient antioxidant which helps the body to get rid of toxins by metabolizing the drugs and flushing them out of the body.
  • Thirdly, regular physical activities and rigorous exercise also helps the body to get rid of harmful products and helps to keep the body fit and healthy.

Hence, it is best to refrain from such addictive practices as it silently paralyses the normal functioning of the body. However the above mentioned ways to detect them helps parents can to keep a vigil on their children who are in the process of growth from resorting to such addictive practices.

Published on October 2nd 2010 by  under Addictions and Poisoning.
Article was last reviewed on 2nd November 2016.

22 responses to “How long does Nicotine stay in your System? Blood, Urine, Hair Test For Nicotine”

  1. Laura Graham says:

    Help need to have any signs of smoking nicotine out of my system. Having blood test done is required for qualifying for surgery

  2. rishidevdas says:

    I am a chain smoker and I wish to quit. Can u suggest something for me? I have to join an MNC in next 1 month and I would like to pass the test as a non smoker. I would also like to know about some methods in clearing the nicotine from the blood and body …..

  3. Londa S says:

    Lots of water everyday and fresh fruit and vegies. I smoked for 30 yrs and quit on the Rx Chantix. They also have a good support system there 24/7.

  4. Panaqueen says:

    The best way to do it is quit cold turkey. After smoking since I have been 19 years old, and now I am 37, I just decided that it was time to quit. Just think about the amount of poison we are depositing into our bodies? Thats what made me say its time for a change…. I hope this helps. Good Luck

  5. Brynna says:

    I am having a spinal fusion surgery within the the next month and I’ve been a pack a day smoker for almost fifteen years. They are doing a blood test and if there is any trace of nicotine they won’t perform the surgery… Do you know how long nicotine stays in the blood stream if I were to quit today?

  6. Leslie says:

    Talk to your Doctor about the prescription Zyban it’s a form of Wellbutrin (bupropin) and satisfies the part of the brain that the nicotine does and makes quitting much easier. You take it for at least 2 weeks before setting a quit date. It actually cuts the craving and it’s kind of like you forget to smoke. Although it gave me some anxiety it was worth it.

  7. HASSAN says:

    Bro help me i ave been smoking 10 cigs a day for a year n i want to quit…. i ave tried 4 times in this week cundnt last more than 26 hrz plzz it wud b a huge favor …. !!

  8. Tenise says:

    smoke for 27 years stop a couple of week in 1995 for a Breast Reduction surgery ,stop in 1996 due to being pregnant with twins high risk decided August 22 2010 I’ve had it had a month worth of Nicotine patches hanging around winged myself off had a week worth of side effect after that i was good I’m cigarette free 15 months ago and never going back….you have to want it,good luck !!

  9. ANN says:

    Just read Easy Way To Stop Smoking so far so good but only stopped 8 hour ago no withdrawal symptoms so far and no desire to smoke

  10. Q. Taylor says:

    Trying to get a job on a nonsmoking site. I smoke maybe a cigar a day. How do I clean my system in 2 weeks?

  11. Sara says:

    I have been smoking for 25 years,and I quit with chantix. You take two pills a day, drinking plenty of water helps. In the past,I have tried the gum,the patches, and laser to quit and finally chantix ,which was my hero. When u feel the urge to smoke a exercise like walking to take out the anxiety

  12. Dee says:

    Want to quit? Fill a pretzel jar up with cigarette butts and then put about thirty percent of water in it. Every time you crave a cigarette, open jar and take a big wiff.Now that will help you quit.

  13. Dee says:

    P.S. you’re welcome…….this method helped me. I smoked for twenty years.But you have to want to quit or nothing will help you.

  14. Mattie says:

    My friend Mattie is geting drug tested today and she is screwed because of these answers haha

  15. Mary Wells says:

    I smoke cigars once in a blue moon. I am applying for a job and they will no longer hire people that use nicotine in any form. How do I flush out the nicotine from my system in case I get a call for an interview?

  16. Jessica says:

    I’ve got to have surgey soon and they said that if nicotine shows up in my blood stream that they won’t do the surgery. How long does it take to get it out of your system if you smoke a pack a day for the past 17 years? I smoke lights….

  17. ThommyMac says:

    I was an opiate addict for 14 years and now have over 9 years clean (just for today). I quit smoking a week ago and am still going crazy. So anyone whose partner\hubby\wife\kid\friend\co-worker or what have you PLEASE cut them huge slack. I have no evidence to support this but I feel nicotine addiction is far more powerful than heroin. I don’t say this to discourage anyone from quitting. Far from it. I say this to folks who aren’t smokers to help them understand why folks with O2 tubes under their noses still smoke. It is not an easy thing to kick.

  18. Kathy says:

    I’ve been smoking 15 years and I quit cold turkey Im having spinal surgery and they will do blood work to make sure I’m not smoking. I’ve got 10 days to make sure its out of my system. Please help me.

  19. Scotty says:

    I stopped smoking about 20 hours agow an its tuff ,,ill keep stopped its supper hard but i got more energy now an walking up hill an walking the beach ,,an plAying guitar so much my fingers are very sore but i started smoking at 15 an im 63 an im stopped ,but i would love a smoke but im sick off the afects so im tuff an quiet for good ,gum water guitar drawing an walking an again tuff tuff i must an i am so thats it ,,i got it i hope but i will this time…!!

  20. Robert says:

    I’m due to have femoral bypass surgery on Dec 2nd because of a blockage in my right leg. I’ve been using a Vape with 2.6 mg of nicotine but I’ve stopped the Vape 4 days ago and my craving got so bad I bought a pack and have smoked approximately 10 cigarettes. What’s the chance of a positive blood test for nicotine on Dec !st.

  21. Donna says:

    I need to stop smoking how long does it stay in your body

  22. pat says:

    I stoped smoking 8 days ago is the nicotine out of urine

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