How long does nicotine stay in your system?

Smoking is a debatable topic since 1800. There are controversial opinions about this issue and the rising question about the danger and harmful affection of cigarettes to our health.

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine, the main compound found in cigarettes, tobacco, and cigars are comprised of 40,000 chemicals. Nicotine makes up about 0.6% to 3.0% of the cigarette’s weight. Once you smoke, you will inhale and absorb this amount of nicotine via liver and lungs, and it can reach brain as fast as 7 seconds.

This substance is addictive, and it is challenging to quit. Furthermore, you might encounter a lot of issues such as anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness as well as delusion while you are withdrawing.

First and foremost, nicotine is inhaled and is metabolized into cotinine. This compound will be alive in some organs, for example, lungs, liver, blood, and urine. Otherwise, cotinine works as an indicator and a reliable bio marker which can be detected in the saliva.

It is essential to understand the time it takes for nicotine still stays in your system or how nicotine affects your body as well as addictive ability. Nicotine goes into the bloodstream and reaches the brain in a matter of time. When it is in the brain, it will connect to the cholinergic receptor and activate it.

The cholinergic receptors can be found in muscles, heart or adrenal glands. These factors can be activated by a neurotransmitter which is normally produced in the nerves endings and the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. It is also known as acetylcholine.

Effects of Nicotine

When nicotine has been delivered into your brain, it will distort the main function of the brain. If an individual smoke on a regular basis, the nicotine substance will alter the number of cholinergic receptors. Moreover, one’s heart rate and blood pressure will increase when the adrenaline in the brain is raised by the nicotine regulation.

Once you stop smoking, your body will react strongly to the withdrawal situation which comprises of anxiety, delusion, sleeplessness or irritability.

On the other hand, nicotine does reduce the appetite, boost the memory and stimulate mood as well as cognition.

Nicotine and Blood

Nicotine might last for 1, and up to 3 days in your blood, however, it still can be detected in your blood even though your last exposure to nicotine is ten days ago. Nicotine test can be taken to check whether your blood contains nicotine or not. However, the false positives of results which indicates that you have nicotine in your blood even though you never smoke might sometimes appear. The reason for this is that you might have exposed to thiocyanate by taking laboratory errors or acetaminophen.

Nicotine and Urine

Even though the amount of nicotine in one cigarette depends more on the types of cigarettes you smoke, it’s estimated that one cigarette contains about 12mg of nicotine.

With regular smoking basis, nicotine might end up staying in your urine about one week up to 3 weeks. For one who smokes infrequently, nicotine might remain in your urine about four days.

For a current smoker, there will be about 1,000 Nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). If you have not been exposed to smoking or nicotine – contained substance for two weeks, the results will be about 30 ng/ml.

Nicotine and Saliva

Cotinine, the primary breakdown product of nicotine after absorbed in the body, might be found in the saliva from 2 up to 4 days. Mostly, nicotine saliva test will be most preferred due to its convenience.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?

In fact, the amount of time tobacco or nicotine stays in your system merely depend on the number of cigarettes one smoke. In a more detailed view, there are three types of smoking

The light smoker will smoke once or less per week. Nicotine will stay in the system for up to 3 days.

The moderate smoker will smoke up to 3 times a week. Nicotine will stay in the system for up to 1 month.

The heavy smoker will smoke more than three times a week. For this heavy user, traces of nicotine can be found in your system for up to 1 year.

Factors that affect the time you still discover traces of nicotine in the system


The medication that you are prescribed and taking recently can affect the metabolism of nicotine process. Especially phenobarbital and antibiotics can crease the metabolism process. Antifungal, blood pressure and antibacterial medication might slow the metabolism process.


This plays a vital role in the elimination of nicotine from your body. The higher the age is, the less efficient the ability of the organs especially liver work to clear up nicotine.

Genes and Hormones

Pregnant women and those who are taking estrogen may metabolize nicotine quicker than those who do not. It is claimed that Asians, Americans, as well as African, seems to metabolize nicotine slower than Caucasians or Hispanics.