How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System ?

Nicotine is believed to be a hazardous substance but recent studies indicate that it is more or less like caffeine that cause addiction; not harmful unless taken in higher quantity such as 40 to 60 milligrams. Before we proceed further to study how long does nicotine stay in your system, it is better to understand what nicotine is and aspects related to it. Nicotine derives its name from a tobacco plant called Nicotania tabacum.  Tobacco in dry form contains approx 3% of tobacco. Though it is said to be harmless, when present in insecticide form it can be hazardous.  People often associate smoking with nicotine. It should be understood that tobacco smoke contains carcinogens which are the actual culprits but what keeps you addicted to smoking or other use of tobacco is nicotine. Nicotine sulfate is considered one of the most dangerous botanical insecticides that are quickly absorbed through skin. Thus the use of this insecticide was restricted in 2008 by the EPA.  

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Effects of Nicotine in the Body and Brain

Every cigarette stick contains 1 milligram of nicotine which is sufficient to stimulate the brain and cause addiction to cigarette. Nicotine disguise as neurotransmitters which are generally created by the brains. These neurotransmitters regulate emotions and sensation. This alkaloid deceives the neurons in the brain, replaces acetylcholine and leads to abnormal production of dopamine; giving a feeling of euphoria. After sometime the effect of nicotine reduces and euphoria does not last. The brain becomes habituated to nicotine and asks for more of it. This creates an urge to smoke and refill the nicotine level in the body. This cycle recurs and gradually the urge becomes frequent turning into addiction.  

Those smokers who attempt to quit smoking may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms which is one reason causing relapse. Some of these withdrawal symptoms may include anxiousness, irritation, anger, insomnia, frustration, head pain, increased weight, depression etc. Concentration may also become weaker due to withdrawal from nicotine. Intensity of these symptoms may vary from person to person. Initially these symptoms may be normal but during 2nd and 3rd day after quitting smoking these signs may peak. The symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine may be more intense in people who smoked more and for years as compared to others who are not serious smokers. 

Immediate and long term benefits of quitting tobacco smoke 

  • Within approx 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate as well as blood pressure returns to normal.
  • Level of carbon monoxide in the body drops considerable after 12 hours from quitting
  • Your lung functioning and blood circulation consistently improves and becomes normal during 2 week to around 3 months
  • Other issues such as shortness of breath and coughing become stabilized  in around 1 month to 9 months
  • The risk of coronary heart disease reduces by around 50%, in one year from giving up
  • After 2 to 5 years from giving up smoking the risk of strokes also becomes equal to non-smokers
  • If you already quit smoking for five years, the risk of different types of cancer also decreases by 50%.
  • 10 years without smoking can truncate your risk of lung cancer by 50%
  • Risk of coronary heart disease is as low as in any non smoker, if you manage to live without smoking for 15 years 

These are not all, but few benefits of giving up tobacco smoke. Smoking also decreases risk of diabetes, blood vessels, heart and lung issues, etc. Hence, if you are considering giving up smoking do it now. But remember it is never too late to get rid of this hazardous habit.

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 How Long does Nicotine stay in your system?

A short answer to how long nicotine remains in your body would be ‘not that long’. To explain this it is crucial to understand how it is processed. A chemical in the liver called cytochrome P450 processes nicotine in the body. Though it is said that cytochrome P450 process the substance quickly, it would greatly depend on how much you have smoked and for how many years you have been a smoker.  General amount of nicotine remains in the body for some hours. It usually gets cleaned up within around 24 hours. However, you body becomes significantly free from nicotine in approx 48 hours. 

How long does nicotine withdrawal last?

Nicotine has several lasting psychological influence which leads to withdrawal symptoms. This prevents the effect of nicotine from suppressing. Usually, the first cigarette (particularly menthol) affects your systems ability to filter nicotine. This may cause nicotine to last in your body for around 72 hours post quitting. Nicotine can also cause elevated blood pressure as it also contains vasoconstrictor properties. Though tightened blood vessels persists for merely 20 minutes and then returns to normalcy, the circulation may return to proper functioning in around two weeks. 

How long does nicotine stay in your blood?

There are certain quantitative as well as qualitative blood tests that can be adopted to determine nicotine blood level or whether it is present in the body. To perform this blood tests cotinine and anabasine may be utilized which are derivatives of nicotine. Even if the substance is present in slightest amount in the bloodstream the test will detect its presence and indicate accordingly. Nicotine stays in your blood for maximum 3 days after the last nicotine product you consume. If you consider cotinine levels, you may find that nicotine can be visible in blood for up to 10 days. But then the blood test may not be an accurate way of detection because exposure to thiocynate in the form fo foods like mustards, cabbage, medications and working in factories like metallurgy can also show up as rising nicotine levels in the body.

There are two other tests that may be recommended for detecting the presence of nicotine. These are nicotine saliva test and nicotine urine test.

How long does nicotine stay in your saliva?

This is the most effective test to find out nicotine is present in your body. The patient does not have to worry about giving a urine sample or a blood test, just one saliva sample can do the needful.  The sample is collected in a strip which is soaked for about 20 minutes, this then mixes with cotinine, showing quantity of nicotine in the system.  So nicotine can stay in your saliva for more than 11 hours and can almost last till 5 days.

How long does nicotine stay in your urine?

Nicotine after inhalation transforms into cotinine in different organs like liver and lung etc, and then it is excreted subsequently into the urine.  This substance remains in urine for around 3 to 50 days during which nicotine content is detectable. A regular urine sample is enough to show the presence of nicotine in urine.  Even in case of passive smokers, nicotine in the urine can be detected for 20-25 days at the maximum. 

Nicotine is only harmful for human in higher dose such as 30 to 60 milligram. However, it is not harmful when it is present in less quantity. As mentioned above amount of nicotine in a cigarette stick does not cause any harm but causes addiction. This substance also affects your appearance making you victim of early aging. This is the reason why smokers e tend to have more wrinkles, crow-feet around the corner of the eyes etc. In order to avoid adverse consequences it is better to give up smoking

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