How Fast Does Nicotine Leave Your System?

Tobacco contains a chemical substance known as nicotine, which comes in consumable forms, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and vapes, as per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Nicotine is addictive because it alters brain function and can lead to cravings and withdrawals when consumption is stopped. In fact, those trying to quit have the option of consuming it directly through patches or gum.

Nonetheless, nicotine has many effects on the overall body. On one end, the chemical substance can make you feel relaxed, reduce pain, improve your mood, and even bolster your concentration and memory in the short term (via Medical News Today). On the hand, it can also cause diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, loss of breath, poor sleep, and heartburn.

Regardless of all the pros and cons, you may still decide to consume it. However, in some cases, you may need to take a nicotine test. Therefore, it might cause you to wonder how long it takes for nicotine to leave your system. Here's everything you need to know.

The timeframe

Nicotine consumption leads to an increase in blood almost immediately, reports WebMD. However, the exact amount of nicotine that makes it into your blood depends on a few factors, like intake, and genetics.

In fact, nicotine breaks down into a substance known as cotinine, which is what a nicotine test will try to detect in your body. Cotinine is typically detectable in urine for up to three days after consumption. However, it may be detectable for up to eight weeks, as per a 2020 study published in Genes and Environment. Notably, urine may be the most sensitive test for cotinine when compared to blood or saliva, so it may only be detected in blood or saliva for three days, according to Healthline. However, nicotine can be detected in your hair follicles for weeks or even years after use. Those who smoke menthol tobacco products or even ingest secondhand smoke may have nicotine in their urine for a longer period of time (via WebMD).

How to get nicotine out of your system

If you have an upcoming drug test, you might wonder how to get nicotine out of your system in a hurry. The first step is to make sure that you stop consuming any sources of nicotine, like cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, hookah, or vapes. Once you've stopped ingesting nicotine, you can work on getting the remaining nicotine out of your system. Luckily, nicotine is water soluble, according to MedicineNet. In other words, staying hydrated can literally help you drain the nicotine out of your system. 

In addition, drinking water promotes urination, which will expel the waste products containing nicotine from your body. In fact, the experts at Healthline note that exercise can boost your metabolism, which will, in turn, help you process the nicotine. Plus, exercise makes you sweat and may help clear some nicotine. Lastly, consuming foods with high concentrations of antioxidants, like oranges, can also boost your metabolism.