What Is Nicotine? *
Nicotine, a powerfully addictive drug, is an alkaloid and is produced either by the tobacco plant or synthetically. Nicotine, a chemical containing nitrogen, has a pharmacological effect that increases the heart rate and oxygen consumption of the heart. Nicotine has a psychodynamic effect and can give the user a feeling of euphoria, a sense of relaxation and heightened alertness. A combination of lethal gases, smoke from cigarettes, contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen, sulfur oxides, hydrogen cyanide and tar that can contain up to 4,000 other chemicals. Doesn’t sound like something you want to willingly put into your body, does it? So if you’re asking “how long does nicotine stay in your system?” then read on!
Growing tobacco is big business. Modern tobacco products have been treated with fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals that have been added to the plant to make it burn better. The paper used to wrap cigarettes is also filled with chemicals that help the tobacco burn. The chemicals used in the paper and tobacco of cigarettes have been attributed to many fires because a cigarette will continue to burn after they are laid down. Many authorities attribute it to the chemical treatment of tobacco and not the tobacco itself, although the jury is still out on this study. Nonetheless, smoking in bed mere minutes before falling asleep (where you are most likely to doze off) or throwing away a still lit cigarette butt in an outside rural area is extremely dangerous and often causes huge losses.
Effects on Your Body *
Nicotine has mind-altering effects that vary according to users between stimulation and relaxation. As a mild central nervous system stimulant, as well as a strong stimulant of the cardiovascular system, nicotine can cause blood vessels to constrict, stimulation of the heart, increases blood pressure and raises the level of fat in your blood. It also prompts the liver to release glucose and the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline. As a liquid, nicotine is a powerful poison and one drop would be deadly.
Nicotine in tobacco products is what causes addiction to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and other forms of nicotine. The pollutants that enter the body due to this addiction are what can cause heart disease, strokes, and many types of cancer, but the nicotine is the chemical that causes the addiction.
The methods used to dry and cure tobacco add to its toxicity. Kerosene drying adds hydrocarbons to the tobacco. Rapid flue and Sugar curing have also been found to increase the toxicity of tobacco. If you quit, however, you won’t need to worry about what they put in the tobacco or what you are inhaling yourself.
So, How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System? *
How long nicotine stays in your system is dependent on several factors but nicotine can be flushed from the body very quickly depending on whether the measure is taken from blood, urine hair or saliva. How long does nicotine stay in your system for is indicated below for each type of test used:
- How long does nicotine stay in your saliva? Using a swab, a sample of saliva is obtained and then a test strip is placed in the saliva for 20 minutes at which time a result will be shown. Saliva testing can find traces of nicotine for two to four days after you have quit using tobacco or nicotine products.
- How long does nicotine stay in your blood? Nicotine can show up in your blood from 1 – 3 days after your last fix depending on how heavy a smoker or a dipper you are. Blood testing can include testing for cotinine, which will give an exact level of toxic nicotine remaining in the blood. How long does nicotine stay in your blood system depends on how heavy a tobacco user you are.
- How long does nicotine stay in your urine? This is the cheapest and quickest method of testing for nicotine. Urine testing can show the presence of nicotine for 15 – 20 days after you have quit using tobacco products.
- How long does nicotine stay in your hair? The longest residual effect of the presence of nicotine can be found in your hair where it can take 1 – 3 months to clear.
These time limits are general and may not be exactly correct when it comes to you; it might differ based on body weight and the amount of nicotine in your body due to whether you are a one, two or three pack per day smoker. Another factor in time as it relates to the absence of nicotine is whether the tester is also measuring for cotinine, which is what nicotine becomes after being metabolized by your body. If this test is used, nicotine will show in a presence in the body longer than if using other testing methods.
Cotinine is also the culprit that gives rise to withdrawal symptoms when you lay your cigarettes down and quit. It has a residual effect on the body and is the culprit that makes it so hard to quit. As the metabolite that breaks down the nicotine in your body cotinine levels can be measured in the blood, saliva or urine. It gives an accurate measurement of the nicotine that remains in your system.
What You Can Do to Speed the Process *
How long nicotine stays in your system can be relative as mentioned above, but the process can also be sped up. Increasing your intake of water and physical activity can get nicotine from your system more quickly than just waiting for it to slowly eek from your body. The water will flush it from your kidneys and liver, as will the addition of sugar-free juices and foods that are rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
Bile producing foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, carrots, leeks and radishes, fresh fruits and fruit juices stimulate liver activity further releasing you of the toxins that are inherent with nicotine. Try eating oranges; they can boost your metabolism, flushing the nicotine out faster. Broccoli too, in addition to containing very beneficial vitamins, has a substance that can protect lungs from toxins. The addition of these foods to your diet will help metabolize the contaminants of nicotine and flush them from your body.
Exercising to the point of working up a good sweat also speeds the nicotine from your system and is an excellent way to keep the blues at bay when you first quit using products that contain nicotine.
Another important thing to note is to stop hanging out in areas where smoking is allowed or accompany others who smoke. Remember that passive smoking can be detected too.
Nicotine, Insurance, and Your Job *
Do you know that smoking or using other nicotine products can cost you more on your insurance? It can. Many insurance carriers of both life and health insurance require a test for the presence of nicotine before they will write a policy. This is usually a saliva test so you will need to be clear of nicotine by over four days before you take the test.
If this does become necessary, don’t just quit long enough to get your insurance. Go ahead and become a quitter, which can increase your life span and over all well-being. Even if you smoke you can get insurance but your rates will be considerably higher than those of a non-smoker. So quitting will help you financially in two ways; you will no longer be buying cigarettes and your insurance rates will be lower. That’s a win-win situation for any one.
Pre-Employment Nicotine Tests *
More and more employers are requiring testing for nicotine prior to employment with their companies. Although this has not yet become a common practice it has become more and more taboo to be a smoker at work and more businesses are taking this direction when hiring. Smokers are more likely to experience health issues, and businesses that offer medical insurance find it more economical to hire nonsmokers to reduce the collective insurance costs of the firm.
If you’re asking how long does nicotine stay in your system, you are probably required to take a nicotine test that you really need to pass, either to acquire a job or to attain a lower insurance rate. If so, you probably have the intention to quit smoking temporarily just to pass the test, only to return to the habit once you’re in the clear. Please notice that most jobs are likely to have their employees undergo regular drug and nicotine tests to ensure their health. You definitely don’t want to get the job of your dreams and then lose it a few months later because your lie has been found out. Consider taking the chance to actually quit for good!
Give It Up! *
Quitting the use of tobacco products can be one of the most difficult things that you ever undertake. Some try repeatedly but only maintain their status as a nonsmoker for a short while. To become a quitter for life you must consciously desire to quit and then get support from your friends, family and physician if necessary. Nonsmokers live longer, healthier lives than smokers, which goes without saying but any addiction is difficult to put aside. There is plenty of help waiting to assist you with your goal to quit smoking. Do it for your kids, and grandkids but most of all, do it for yourself.