Nicotine is a stimulant drug and is extracted from members of the nightshade family of plants. Cigarettes contain nicotine as a basic ingredient. By weight, nicotine is about 5% of a plant’s total weight. How long does nicotine stay in your system depends on many variables.
Administration of nicotine:
Cigarettes are the primary means of nicotine administration. Nicotine can be administered by any means which involve consumption of tobacco. This is because tobacco is the primary source of nicotine. Hookahs are also a source of nicotine administration. The sub-continent region has a common practice of chewing tobacco.
Properties and side-effects of nicotine:
The stimulant effect of nicotine starts taking place on the human body with the administration of as low dose as 1mg. It is known for boosted mood, increased brain activity, improved memory and cognition. It also reduces Stress, depression and tension.
Detection in system:
Nicotine’s metabolism is very rapidly in the system and is detectable in saliva, blood, and urine. Cotinine is the converted form of nicotine once it is metabolized. For detection smoking, measuring the levels of cotinine is a primary test. It may also detect administration of nicotine by other means.
Based on the pattern of administration, quantity, period of continuous administration and time of the test, nicotine is detectable for as low as 3-4 days. This measure may exceed to 15-20 days. Passive smokers are highly prone to a risk of false positive test results even after many months of activity.
In blood tests:
After latest administration, nicotine may be detectable for up to 3 days. Age and general health of subject and amount of nicotine are major variables in the equation. If the test is made for the detection of cotinine, it can be positive for up to 10 days.
A urine test:
Urine tests are very user-friendly and are available across the country. This makes them most commonly used method for detection of nicotine and cotinine. It is aimed at detection of cotinine and nicotine metabolites in the system. The cut-off level defined is 20ng/ml for nicotine.
It takes 3-4 days for nicotine and cotinine to be flushed away from the body, making them detectable for this much time. For passive smokers, this detection may be extended to around 20 days. In case menthol cigarettes are smoked, cotinine takes more time to be flushed out.
The answer to how long does nicotine stay in your system is largely dependent on the method of administration, amount, the health of the subject, the time period of regular use and also the time between administration and test. Passive smokers are at more risk of having a false positive if tested for the presence of nicotine. Usually, nicotine flushes out of the system in 3-4 days for smokers. It may stay as long as 15-20 days in passive smokers.