Nicotine in Your System
Firstly, what is nicotine?
Nicotine is easily found in tobacco, cigarette which contains more than 40000 chemicals. Nicotine can make up 0.6% to 3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco.
In the late 17th century, insecticide was the main contaminant in nicotine. After that, it was proved to be absorbed quickly through the human skin which could lead to poisoning.
Therefore, this nicotine-based pesticide was prohibited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2008.
Whenever you smoke or chew tobacco, or even indirectly inhale smoke from others, nicotine is absorbed and delivered into your blood stream. The nicotine is broken down to become cotinine by the enzymes in the liver.
Cotinine, which is the main by-product of nicotine, will be eliminated via the kidneys as urine. The question is this: how long does nicotine stay in your system until it is eradicated?
Why do you need to check for nicotine levels in your body? Because some employers consider it as a condition for employment; or it will determine the cost of health insurance.
It might be unfair when the employers don’t distinguish between tobacco smokers and users of nicotine in lighter forms such as vaping, or smokeless tobacco. Even using nicotine gum will be treated as a health risk by employers.
What are the factors influencing the result of “how long does nicotine stay in your system”?
The frequency of usage:
The more frequent you smoke or use nicotine products, the higher the levels of nicotine that can be detected in your body.
Tobacco users may be divided into 3 groups depending on the regularity of use:
- light users who smoke once a week (nicotine level will be detected within 2- 3 days after use)
- medium users who use nicotine products up to three times a week
- heavy users who might be addicted to nicotine with the continuous use of tobacco products
The speed of nicotine elimination depends on many individual aspects:
- Meals and diet: Nicotine will be absorbed into the blood within 7 seconds of smoking. Blood is where nicotine is transformed into cotinine; this can affect meals, postures, drugs or exercises. After each meal, the level of hepatic blood flow rises up to 30% and brings about 40% more nicotine elimination.
Menthol is a surprise element which can affect nicotine metabolism. It is proven to inhibit nicotine metabolism in the human liver. Moreover, mentholated cigarette smokers show more nicotine metabolism inhibition than non-mentholated cigarette smokers.
- Age: All of us know that age can affect the liver function along with kidney productivity, as well as nicotine metabolism and elimination. When you are young, your body’s detoxification process will be faster and more effective.
- Hormones and genetic factor. Many researches have been carried out and indicated that genes play an important role in the rate of nicotine metabolism. Hispanics can absorb more nicotine than Asians, Americans, and Africans.
On the other hand, the ratio of nicotine metabolism differs between the 2 sexes: women tend to absorb nicotine at a higher rate than do men. In addition, pregnant women or women with high estrogen levels can metabolize nicotine faster.
- The moment of the day: During the day, nicotine elimination can reach approximately 17% while the slowest clearance occurs between 6 pm and 3 am because it is the time for you to sleep (which leads to the slow-down of liver productivity}.
- Medication: Some steroidal anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial drugs can affect enzymes which are responsible for oxidizing nicotine into cotinine.
The length of time nicotine still stays in your body is the most precise indicator of how much nicotine has been used, how long a person has smoked and the nicotine type he uses. Let’s find out “how many nicotine drug tests are there?” and “how long does nicotine stay in your system?”
Blood tests and how long does nicotine stay in your blood?
After being absorbed directly or passively, nicotine is broken down into cotinine and enters the blood stream and goes to the next target, your liver. That’s where your blood is detoxified from toxins (at a slower rate than kidneys do).
You can detect the presence of nicotine within 1 to 3 days after the last use of nicotine products. But results can vary depending on an individual’s health, the amount and kind of nicotine products used, such as cigarettes, tobacco and nicotine gum. Nicotine in your blood will still be detected even after 10 days. The test can detect nicotine, cotinine or any breakdown products of nicotine which is called anabasine.
Tests will show positive results even in a person who doesn’t smoke or use any nicotinecontaining products. The offending product giving these results is thiocyanate, which is found in broccoli, mustard, almonds or cabbage and some certain medicines.
Nicotine urine test
As mentioned before, all toxins are filtered and eliminated via the liver and kidneys. The urine test can show the presence of nicotine within 3 or 4 days after the last use of nicotine. On the other hand, passive smokers can have positive results after 15 or 20 days. You probably know how toxic and dangerous passive smoking is. Be aware of the risk that you can bring to people around you when you smoke.
If you use menthol cigarettes, it will take more time for your body to excrete cotinine and other products of nicotine.
Test results depend on the urine samples provided. There is some over-the-counter nicotine urine test products which you can purchase for personal use. Just dip the strip in your urine sample for 5 minutes, then read the result. They will be either positive or negative.
Nicotine in your saliva sample
The nicotine saliva test is considered the most accurate test. You don’t need to take your urine sample or blood test- tube to obtain an approximate amount of nicotine in your system. This test can detect levels from 0 to 2000 ng/ ml of nicotine in your system. Just soak the strip into your saliva sample for 20 minutes and wait for the results.
In this article, we have shown you how to clear nicotine from your body effectively. This may be helpful if you wish to get a better result for the purposes of obtaining health insurance and for your curriculum vitae:
- Consuming more water to boost up the filtration process in your kidney is a good idea for eliminating nicotine quickly from your system.
- High water, fiber and anti-oxidants in fruits and vegetables can help eliminate nicotine from your system.
- Exercise can improve circulation and assist your body to excrete toxins via sweat and urine quickly.
Author: Joyce Baker
Joyce is both a freelance graphic designer and a health writer. She graduated from the Arts and Humanities faculty at The University of Central Florida. She shares useful information about Healthcare and Nutrition in creative ways.