How Long Does Tobacco Stay in your System, How to get it out Fast to Pass a Nicotine Test

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If you are wondering how long nicotine in tobacco will stay in body system, here is a breakdown of the duration, factors that will determine the duration and tips on how to get it out fast so as to pass a nicotine test.

When you chew tobacco, smoke or even inhale smoke from another smoker, nicotine will be absorbed into your bloodstream.  Upon absorption, the nicotine is broken down into cotinine by the enzymes in your liver.

The amount of cotinine depends on how much nicotine you inhaled. These substances are finally eliminated from your body through the kidneys in form of urine. The period for which the nicotine stays in your system depends on how frequently you smoke and how you actually ingest the smoke.

Different types of cigarettes have different levels of nicotine. All the same, most cigarettes contain 12 milligrams of nicotine 1 milligram of which is absorbed into your blood stream. Traces of nicotine can be traced in your urine, blood stream, saliva, hair follicles.

How long does tobacco or nicotine stay in your system

Cigarettes and Chew-able tobacco

How long does tobacco(Nicotine) stay in your system

If you are a frequent smoker, you will realize that the cotinine stays in the urine for up to four days. If you are continually exposed to nicotine, the cotinine in your system may remain detectable for as long as three weeks after exposure.

In the case of your blood, cotinine stays in your bloodstream for about three days. It can however be detected up to ten days after exposure to nicotine. There are qualitative and quantitative tests that can be used to determine nicotine levels in your blood.

Your saliva has some traces of nicotine too. Actually, it takes about four days for nicotine to be completely out of your saliva. Your hair follicles have nicotine detectible for a longer period. Nicotine can be traced in your hair follicles for as long as three months after the day of exposure.

There are different hair tests, how long nicotine can be detected in the body depends on which hair test is carried out.  Some hair tests have been found to show presence of nicotine a year after exposure.

As much as hair test appears more reliable, it is not commonly used since it is very costly as compared with blood, urine and saliva tests.

What will determine how long nicotine will take to leave Body blood system

As much as an estimation of how long nicotine stays in your system can be given, the duration is bound to vary. This is because, your body system functions differently from anyone else’s. Your individual body system will determine if nicotine leaves your system soon or long after the exposure.

Below are factors that are commonly relied on to determine how long the nicotine stays in your system before it is flushed out;

Frequency of smoking

There are different categories for people who smoke depending on their frequency of smoking. Firstly, we have the light users and these are the people who smoke once every week. Secondly, there are the moderate users. These are the smokers who smoke about three times in a week. We also have heavy users. These are people who smoke on a daily basis.

If you are a light smoker, nicotine will leave your system in two or three days after smoking. If you are a heavy smoker, you may expect that the nicotine can be traced in your system for as long as one year. In conclusion, the more frequently you smoke the longer nicotine can be traced in your system.


When you are young, your body system is very active and hence flushes toxins out of your body very fast. Nicotine is thus driven out of your body within a short time if you are young. However, if you are older, nicotine will last longer in your system as your system is not very efficient in flushing out toxins.


High levels of hormones in your system facilitate flushing out of toxins from your system. For instance, if you are pregnant or taking estrogen, nicotine is easily driven out of your system. This explains why nicotine stays longer in male body system as compared to men. Women metabolize nicotine faster than men.


From research, the genes you have to determine how long nicotine stays in your system. For instance, a research found that Hispanic and Caucasian people metabolized nicotine sooner than Asia-Americans and African-Americans.

Liver function

The speed at which liver enzymes metabolize nicotine varies from one person to the other. If your liver enzymes are very efficient in breaking down enzymes, you are likely to drive out nicotine from your system very fast.


There are some types of medications that slow down the speed at which nicotine is broken down by the liver enzymes. Some medicines however speed the metabolism of nicotine. Some of the medications that speed up the breakdown of nicotine include; phenobarbital and antibiotics like rifampin. On the other hand, medications that slow down the breakdown include; amlodipine (high blood pressure medication), and antifungals such as ketoconazole.

Amount of nicotine taken in

The dosage of nicotine you ingest each day influences the period over which nicotine stays in your system.  Additionally, the amount of nicotine you administer highly determines the speed with which it is broken down and as such excreted.

A person who smokes 15 cigarettes will no doubt take a longer period to flush out nicotine, compared to a person who smokes just two cigarettes. In conclusion, the higher the dosage you ingest, the more the nicotine accumulated in your system and the longer the period taken to eliminate it.

Mode of nicotine ingestion

There are different ways through which nicotine can be ingested. The ways vary from one person to another depending on individual preference. The choice of ingesting nicotine you make determines how long nicotine stays in your system.  You can either smoke or chew tobacco.

Chewing tobacco

If you do not like smoking, you may resolve to chewing tobacco. When you chew tobacco, you allow nicotine to be reabsorbed orally. This oral absorption is through the mouth’s mucous membrane. If you chew tobacco, you are likely to absorb it faster than if you smoked it.  Even that, when you chew nicotine, it gets to the brain at a slower rate.

When you chew nicotine, you end up with thousands of chemicals which have been found to interfere with the breakdown of nicotine when it gets to the system.  Consequently, nicotine will last longer in your system before it can be fully broken down and flushed out.  This is however not longer than the case of smoking.

Vaping (Inhaling vapor)

Inhaling vapor as a way of ingesting nicotine is said to be less harmful compared to the other ingestion methods. Nevertheless, regardless of the modality of nicotine ingestion, nicotine has effects on your body. When you use this vapor inhalation, it is not easy to determine when to stop since unlike a cigarette, it is not something that gets finished. The longer you inhale the vapor and the deeper the inhalation, the longer nicotine stays in your system.

Smoking cigarettes

Compared to other methods of ingesting nicotine, if you choose to smoke cigarettes, nicotine will stay longer before it is eliminated from your system. Nicotine through smoking highly slows down the rate at which the enzymes break it down.


People inhale the smoke differently. Your level of inhalation determines how deep this nicotine goes into your system. The deeper you inhale the smoker the more nicotine is absorbed into your system. This as a result increases the period nicotine stays in your system.

How to get nicotine out of your system fast

To facilitate driving out of nicotine from your system, you are advised to do the following;

Drink plenty of water

Normally, you are advised to drink a lot of water so as to drive out toxins from your body.  In the same way, you are supposed to drink a lot of water so that it aids in driving out nicotine through urine. The more you smoke, the more you need to drink water.  You must however take water that is just enough to hydrate your body. Too much water results in physiological impairment.

drink plenty water rid nicotine from you body

Drinking water

 Enrich your diet with the right foods

Eating food with antioxidants boosts your body metabolism rate. Some of the common foods that contain antioxidants are carrots and oranges. Foods that have high fiber content are also important to you as a smoker since they make toxin removal easy.


You are also advised to enrich your diet with acidic diet. As much as too much acid may be harmful to your health, it is helpful in the case where you wish to reduce the level of nicotine in your system. High acidity prevents nicotine from being reabsorbed into your system.  You are also asked to eat foods that enrich the liver with bile. Such foods include onions and garlic.

Vitamin C supplements

Studies show that vitamin C supplements speed up processing of nicotine.  A study was carried out on 75 men smoking at least a single pack of cigarettes a day. From the results, it was clear that the levels of ascorbic acid in the body influenced nicotine metabolites in the urine of those men.


The individuals who had high levels of ascorbic acid in their system had relatively lower levels of nicotine. This was as compared to those with a smaller percentage of ascorbic acid in their system. Generally, ascorbic acid was found to be very efficient in preventing nicotine reabsorption before elimination.


When you exercise frequently, you improve the general metabolism rate in your body. As such, frequent exercise speeds up breakdown of nicotine in your body. Apart from that, when you exercise, you release a lot of sweat. The sweat in most times carries with it the nicotine out of your system.

exercise to get nicotine out fast

Exercise can help eliminate nicotine from your system

Stop the use of nicotine

As much as this may not be easy if you are used to nicotine, it is the best way to get rid of nicotine for good.  If you clear nicotine from your system through any of the above ways then resume using nicotine, you will never be in position to eliminate nicotine completely. You are always going to have traces. To pass a drug test, you must therefore cease the use of nicotine completely. [1]

How to pass a nicotine test

While some tests will check for presence of nicotine in your system, most tests detect presence of cotinine in your system.  Cotinine, as mentioned earlier, is a metabolite of nicotine.  The available tests include; blood tests, hair analysis, urine tests, and saliva swabs.  To pass a nicotine test, you need to understand how the tests are carried out and what they require.

Blood tests

You can either carry out a qualitative or a quantitative blood test. Your physician may carry out qualitative blood tests to detect presence of nicotine if you ingested it recently. Blood tests are very effective and they give results of either a pass or a fail.


A quantitative blood test on the other hand is meant to determine if the nicotine in your system is above a certain level. Using this test, it is possible to establish how much nicotine you have been ingesting.

Through blood tests, you will give a positive nicotine test up to the fourth day of ingesting it. However, its metabolite, cotinine, may be detected in your bloodstream for up to the tenth day after your ingestion.

Urine tests

Urine tests are less invasive and for that reason, they are preferred to blood tests.  It is usually easy in that you only need your fresh urine sample which is then tested for the presence of cotinine.  For heavy smokers, it may take up to three weeks before they can pass a nicotine urine test. This is because the nicotine stays longer in the system of heavy smokers.


You can easily access strips for the urine tests in your nearest drug store. You will need to dip the strip into fresh urine for five to ten minutes. Based on the presence of nicotine, the strips will read positive or negative. Read the strip package carefully for easy interpretation of the results.

Saliva tests

This is the commonly used test as it is not invasive, it is easy to administer and it gives accurate results.  You will need to collect a fresh sample of saliva into which a strip is dipped into for 20 minutes.  The degree of reaction of the saliva with the strip determines the amount of nicotine you ingested. With the numbering on the saliva strip running from 0 to 6, it indicates an insignificant level of nicotine (0) to significant levels of nicotine (6).

Hair tests

If you wish to test presence of nicotine after a long time, for instance in a period of three months, hair tests are the most appropriate.  A hair follicle is collated from your scalp or alternatively from other hair growing parts of your body then subjected to the test.  It is however not commonly used since it is not only expensive but it also does not indicate the precise amount of nicotine in your body. [2]


[1] https://www.curejoy.com/content/flush-nicotine-body-naturally/

[2] https://vapingdaily.com/nicotine-replacement-therapy/nicotine-metabolism/


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