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How Long Does Nicotine (Cotinine) Stay in Your System

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  • 8th December 2023

What is nicotine

When one smokes, chews or administers tobacco into their body via some other delivery method, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches your brain within a few seconds. It is then metabolized into the predominant metabolite cotinine, an anagram of the word ‘nicotine’.




How long does nicotine/cotinine stay in your body

Nicotine itself has a short half-life of about 2 hours, ensuring that it is eliminated from the system after 11 hours since having last taken it.

Cotinine, however, has a longer elimination half-life of 16-19 hours. This means that 88-104.5 hours or 3 days 16 hours to 4 days 8.5 hours after you have last taken tobacco, cotinine will be excreted from your system.

Please note, that the above numbers are an estimate. In reality, the age, build, food intake levels, physical conditions, mode of delivery, the frequency of administration, all these factors must be taken into account in order to ascertain how long nicotine and its metabolite are going to be in the system.

How long does nicotine/cotinine stay in your urine, blood, saliva and hair follicle tests

Urine 3-4 days
Blood 1-4 days
Saliva 10 hours to 4 days
Hair follicle Up to 90 days

How to pass a cotinine test

  • Workout – Simply being physically active helps your body to detoxify itself by way of producing more sweat.
  • Eat acidic foods – Acidifying your urine content is an excellent way to get most drugs and their metabolites out off your system, including nicotine. Pork, beef, rice, eggs are all foods with a high acidic level.
  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is the most basic thing you can do to ensure nicotine and cotinine are flushed out of your system.

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