How Long Nicotine Stays in Your System

Why test for nicotine at all?

Individuals are normally thinking about how long nicotine remains in the system since their employer wants to check for nicotine, either as a condition of employment or more typically to identify the cost of health insurance.

As unjust as it seems, employers and insurance providers do not have to compare cigarette smokers and users of nicotine in more secure types, like vaping or smokeless tobacco. Even the use of nicotine gum– which the FDA approves for long-term usage– can be dealt with as a health risk by employers.

Insurance provider thinks about the presence of nicotine a dependable sign that the guinea pig is a tobacco user or a user of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, which typically indicates an ex-smoker (and somebody likely to return to cigarette smoking, as more than 90 percent of NRT users do).

If you try to discover the answers to concerns like, “How long does nicotine remain in your blood?” or “For how long does nicotine stay in your urine?” beware that a lot of screening does not even search for nicotine per se. More on that soon.

What length of time does nicotine stay in your body?

While there are tests to determine nicotine in the body, it’s hard to detect in the blood after one to 3 days, or in the urine after four days. That’s why most employers and insurers no longer issue themselves with how long nicotine remains in your body.

Rather, they check for a substance called cotinine, which is a metabolite of nicotine. Nicotine is turned into cotinine (metabolized) by the liver and remains noticeable in the body for up to three weeks– though normally for about one week.

Blood testing is very accurate and can identify both nicotine and cotinine.

The length of time cotinine stays in your system can differ depending upon your ethnic background, gender, medications consumed, and even your diet. Males typically maintain higher cotinine levels than women. As the science has advanced, advice on the “cut-points” (the levels above which the individual being evaluated is considered positive for nicotine usage) has changed.

Different nicotine tests

Blood screening

There are several tests that can be utilized to measure cotinine levels. Blood screening is extremely accurate and can spot both nicotine and cotinine. It’s also the most pricey and invasive screening technique, so it’s less regularly utilized than the other methods.

Obviously, drawing blood requires a trained professional and a check out to a laboratory, which makes the process costly and cumbersome for both staff members and employers. There are 2 sorts of blood tests for cotinine. One is an easy positive-or-negative procedure that doesn’t quantify the quantity determined. The other test can define the level of the nicotine metabolite in the blood serum.

Saliva testing

Saliva testing is the most delicate of the common testing methods, and numerous laboratories and insurers have actually changed to saliva testing over the last few years. The levels of cotinine than saliva tests are able to find have to do with one-third as high as those in blood serum, and about one-fifteenth those in the urine. The greatest advantage of saliva screening is its ease for all concerned.

Saliva testing for cotinine is frequently done by employers using kits provided by third-party laboratories. Normally a swab of the individual’s mouth is done, and the swab is inserted into a self-sealing container that is then delivered to the laboratory. The outcomes are then returned to the company or insurer online or by phone. This is far less costly and time-consuming than sending each employee to a laboratory for blood screening

Urine screening

Urine consists of higher levels of cotinine than blood or saliva, as much as 6 times higher. This makes it a much better option for spotting low concentrations of cotinine. The test is fairly basic too. A test strip is soaked in the urine sample for a few minutes, and it rapidly delivers a positive or negative result.

Hair screening

Cotinine screening from hair samples is the most dependable technique, however also the hardest, most pricey and slowest. Hair testing is sometimes bought if the results of other tests are uncertain or in doubt. It’s also regularly used in clinical research studies. The advantage for researchers studying smoking cigarettes and nicotine is that hair samples can maintain cotinine for as long as 3 months.

Do all insurers test for nicotine?

Insurers commonly perform nicotine (or, regularly, cotinine) tests for medical insurance, however some likewise test for life insurance coverage purposes. Some companies are changing their standards now and permitting policyholders to vape or use smokeless tobacco and still be eligible for non-smoker rates. Some even permit cigar smoking cigarettes without raising their rates.

If you’re in the market for life insurance coverage, it may pay to search and ask concerns about their policy toward reduced-risk nicotine use.

How can I prevent testing positive?

There are a variety of items that declare to “cleanse the body” of nicotine (and other drugs) in a few days. Whether they do much of anything is doubtful. Lots of people being tested– other than heavy smokers– have a great chance of testing negative after a week or so without nicotine, and the huge majority will test negative after 2 weeks. Save your cash, buy some zero-nic e-liquid, and consume a lot of water to flush your system.

In the future, we hope companies and insurance companies will recognize the difference in risk between smoking cigarettes and safer types of nicotine use and stop punishing vapers and snus users. Your best bet if you understand when you’re going to be evaluated is to simply abstain for 2 weeks or longer. If you’re in a secure job, think about going over with your employer why they should be motivating smokers at your business to change to low-risk nicotine products like vaping.

As the science has advanced, recommendations on the “cut-points” (the levels above which the individual being checked is considered positive for nicotine usage) have altered.

Blood screening is really precise and can detect both nicotine and cotinine. The other test can define the level of the nicotine metabolite in the blood serum.

Insurance coverage companies commonly conduct nicotine (or, more frequently, cotinine) tests for health insurance coverage, but some also test for life insurance functions. Numerous individuals being evaluated– other than heavy cigarette smokers– have a great opportunity of screening unfavorable after a week or so without nicotine, and the large bulk will test unfavorable after 2 weeks.

Leave a Comment