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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  • RonnieNov.3 00:26
    I quit smoking 15 years cold turkey. Needless to say it was very very difficult. About four years ago my craving was so bad for nicotine that I picked up a can of chew I put it down 15 days ago again cold turkey. The first for five days were very very difficult but now it's a matter of will and I feel great. I am confident that I will never touch the nicotine again.
  • Zach VenusOct.28 05:10
    Every negative thought or doubt I ever had crept up on me after just 16 hours free from nicotine. Dreams came on as flash scenes from blackness, memories that never happened with love ones very far away.I wake in sweat that odd uncomfy sweat on my back and pits. I take a leak and start chomping on some cinnamon gum. Everything has a smell today it seems. I can feel my irritability out of my eyes as my pupils are sucked back and light seems to blind in any surrounding. Been a smoker since my high school sweet heart turned me on to it age 16. Now 29 this is the upteenth time I have tried to be without the nic, I feel better already but remain somber as its hard to say if it will last. 3 days, I used to wish i could go to jail or a cave for 3 full days, ahh yes and if i had that i could walk out day 4 a changed man. At least back to me enough to get shit done and live another day to hope for the day i feel as good as the day i first put my filthy lips on that pink cig that one day co long ago!
  • Michelle BelkOct.16 20:39
    This is day 8 for me!! Saturday October 8th, 2016 4:45 PM is the last time I had a cig!! I will be 43 on October 20th I've smoked since I was 18 years old, I did quit for about 8 months when I was pregnant with my son when I was 19 years old, I also quit for a few months when my kids were younger, they are now 19 and 22, every time I TRY to quit I end up smoking DOUBLE what I did BEFORE I tried to quit!! This is the LONGEST I've went without one in about 7 years!! I've tried the patch, cold turkey is out of the question! I have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, ADD and other health issues way too bad!! I've taken chantix before and all It did was mess with my sleep!!I was sleep walking horribly, and terrible dreams!! Not sure if I just didn't take the meds correctly or not!! I've also tried Wellbutrin and NOTHING!! My hubs, son and I moved to Louisiana from Mississippi 7 months ago back in March, I was walking "normal" then something weird happened (yes I am a diabetic but this is NOT diabetes related) I all of a sudden had numbness in my right leg and foot and was DRAGGING my foot (yes, I have diabetic neuropathy this is different) my dr thought I had a stroke!! Got tested, nope wasn't a stroke, two weeks later, my left leg and foot did the SAME so now I am dragging BOTH legs and feet!! To this day after tests upon tests, only diagnosis is perineal neuropathy and I am a functional quadroplegic, it's now in my right arm and hand, my legs are so atrophied that my PT and my Dr have NEVER seen anyone with such atrophy walking!!! ALL Dr's and specialists say nothi I am literally a MYSTERY!!! So anyways, With all of this I decided I just HAD TO QUIT!! My dr had to make sure this was NOT neurological first, so once he did he prescribed me Chantix I WAS smoking 3-4 packs PER DAY!! I honestly thought a waste of time, but took it anyways!! Soooo a week and half into it I was down to 1/2 pack and I started feeling like I had the FLU!! I was on the couch CONSTANTLY, then within two weeks down to 5-7 costs a day, I was STILL soooo sick!! My home health nurse came on Saturday the 8th and we discussed it, realizing no matter how many cigs I smoked, 1,2,5 chantix would make me SICK, because when I got up I felt fine, I would wait a couple hours to smoke, which was odd for me, I usually smoked first thing, but as soon as I smoked, I was SICK!! I really did NOT crave them until the 4th day!! The 4th day was the WORST!! And I STILL craving but out of FEAR of getting sick I refuse to smoke!! And when my hubs or son walk in from smoking, the smell makes me sick!! But I still WANT ONE!!! I just PRAY I can stay smoke free!!! Sorry for the extremely LONG POST, I am hoping SOMEONE can relate to me!! As I have NO ONE here and no one who can relate in the least!! Good luck to EVERYONE!!! And God bless
  • JulienNov.20 09:10
    @ : Be strong and see it through best person to understand you is you.
  • DROct.13 12:41
    I just quit yesterday. I don't have cravings or anything like that. The most shocking fact is that I broke up a relationship of 10 years (my relationship with cigarette), so I am addictive to the habit and not to nicotine, and that's why I was even more upset with myself, but since I want to live free, I break up and never look back.....
  • Taylor MerrittSep.9 23:13
    My quitting journey started today because I want bariatric surgery. Instead of a cigarette, I picked up my vape pen and filled it with 0 mg liquid. It's been keeping me at bay because it still tastes like a cigarette just minus the toxins of a cigarette and NO NICOTINE. I'm so proud of myself
  • BethOct.10 21:44
    @ : Taylor, I have to have surgery and quit smoking 2 weeks before. I was thinking about the 0 mg liquid to help me,how did ut help you?
  • HeraJul.27 03:37
    I just recently quit. I feel proud. Somehow. I've been a smoker for at least 8 years and I started when I was in high school, foolishly, to look cool to people I barely talk to nowadays. I don't even say hi to them of Facebook and it bothered me so much that I was trying to impress and befriend the wrong people when I went to college so I just kept smoking until it became an awful habit. Just recently, I tried searching casually in the internet on ways on how I could quit without any medication and I keep seeing "cold turkey" and I said, why not?? First two days - I had this awful taste in my mouth I couldn't exactly describe nor get of. I tried combating it with drinking coffee and tea but I just really couldn't get rid of it. Three to five days - I hated anyone I see that is smoking, whether it was someone I knew or someone passing by and it was because I wanted to smoke so badly and I couldn't. I had to constantly surround myself with the people I trust (the ones who knew I was trying to quit) so they can keep an eye for me. After one week or so - I started vomiting every time I smell the smoke of cigarette and I didn't like the feeling so much I just randomly cry. 13th day - I tried lighting one cigarette. I was about to puff one when I got caught by one of my friends and she put the cigar out as fast as she could and made me run the treadmill for 20 minutes (it was their form of punishment) 15th day - One friend of mine suggested that I go with her to the gym...exercise for 45 minutes and hit the sauna for at least 10 minutes. I went to the gym at least 20 times within a month after my 15th day and I noticed that it doesn't bother me anymore. I can't find any proof from others or a doctor that will agree with me about the benefits of spending at least 10 minutes of sauna but it really did help me. Sweating can get rid of nicotine so I think it might have helped along with the exercise. It's been 45 days for me without smoking and it doesn't stress me out as much anymore. I know cold turkey isn't other people's thing but it really helped me and as long as you are surrounded with people are willing to make you quit, you'll do it better and faster. :D I'd post a picture of a potato for the long post if I would. Thanks for reading.
  • JulienNov.20 09:09
    @ : Hi hope everything has worked out for you
  • Camron CookJul.19 02:09
    i have been cig free for 19 days as of 7/18/2016 and my urge is gone... it was hard having self control being around smokers and what not but the thing i find most rewarding is the fact that i did not ask for a cig. . . right now i dont even think of them until someone says the word but i did this cold turkey and it was very hard ive only smoked for 1 year and some change but its not worth the money loss or what it does to my body... when i did think of smoking i changed the subject no subliments. -Cam Ohio
  • karen sawyerJun.26 12:43
    Want to quit, this is my first morning without. So far so
  • S.PANNEER SELVAMApr.29 06:09
    i quit smoking from 26 January of this year.i always remember the word ****** NO TO NEXT PUFF ******
  • $&Apr.28 18:14
    Plan ahead. Clear schedule for as long as possible or about a week from quitting day. Leading up to quitting day, cut back on sleep. Maybe an hour a day less, for about a week. The night before stay awake as long as possible. Continue smoking till going to bed. Take an approved and safe otc sleep aide. The first day is done.
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