Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known in the world and it is legal to use. Every year millions of people become addicted and millions of people struggle with this addiction.

Nicotine is generally inhaled via cigarette smoke and once inhaled it goes into the lungs and then is processed into the blood stream. Because nicotine is a toxic substance and the body recognizes this, it will process it through the liver and then out through the kidneys. On average each cigarette will contain 1 to 2 mg of nicotine, while second hand smoke contains only trace amounts of nicotine. So how long does it take to get nicotine out of your system?

How Long Does It Take for Nicotine to Get Out Of Your System?

Nicotine is processed via the liver; the liver produces a chemical called Cytochrome P450. Your body will attempt to clear all traces of nicotine from your system because it is toxic; however, this depends upon two key factors:

  • Your nicotine intake

  • How long you have been using nicotine-based products

How long does tobacco stay in your system? It normally stays for a short time frame, less than 24 hours. Your system will clear itself of most of the nicotine within 48 hours after your last cigarette. Although there are physiological and other factors that can delay the quick removal from your system.

Drug Test for Nicotine


Blood Test

Testing for nicotine shows that nicotine is detectable for 1 to 3 days. It is common to test for cotinine instead of nicotine, as cotinine is detectable in the system for up to 10 days after nicotine has been removed from your system.

However, it is still possible to have a false positive, as it can happen for many reasons. This includes eating foods that contain a chemical called thiocyanate such as cabbage, almonds, mustard, and broccoli. False positives can also occur if you are working in a metal refining facility with high levels of thiocyanate and if you are taking medications that contain amphetamines. Also it must be considered that laboratory errors can happen.


Urinalysis for Nicotine

Some organizations and employers will test for nicotine via a urine test. When smoking only occasionally or you have a limited nicotine intake, the nicotine should be cleared out in 3 to 4 days. If you are a regular smoker, it may take 1-2 weeks; if you are a long time heavy smoker, it may take more than 20 days for a clean urinalysis test.


Saliva Test

An oral test is considered to be the most accurate for nicotine testing. It can detect levels from 0-2,000 ng/ml. If the range is lower, a urinalysis will be able to detect it. A saliva test will test for cotinine since nicotine can be tested via oral testing for about 10 hours and cotinine lasts for 2 to 4 days.


Hair Test

This type of test is expensive and not often used. It identifies trace amounts of substances via the hair follicle. This is a highly accurate test and will detect nicotine intake in the last 3 months and even up to a year. In general, hair is removed from the scalp and used for the testing. If the head is bald, then hair from other parts of the body can be used too.

How to Clear Nicotine from Your Body Fast

Like all substances that enter the body, nicotine must metabolize to exit the system. If you do anything to help increase your metabolism, it will help clear out both nicotine and cotinine from your system.

Exercising is a great way to help increase you heart rate and metabolism. This is a great way to help clear out the nicotine from your system.


Since nicotine is water soluble, drinking plenty of water will also help flush it out from your system. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day is a great way to naturally clear your system of toxins.


Nicotine destroys vitamin C. By taking a vitamin C supplement you will increase your body’s metabolism and replenish this needed nutrient. Vitamin C is also high in antioxidants which will help metabolize the drugs in your body. Hence it will help remove the nicotine from your system.


Quit tobacco right now, though it is easier said than done. Only quitting tobacco completely can the nicotine get out of your system completely. Many people that quit have tried quitting several times before they successfully quit. There are many ways to give up although the most effective thing will be your determination.


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