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How Long Does Nicotine Remain in Your Body For?
New vapers might worry when they use nicotine at first, but it’s not as bad as you think. Here’s how long nicotine stays in your body for, and some other information about nicotine use.
Every day, hundreds of UK smokers are turning to vaping as a way of quitting cigarettes. One of the reasons quitting cigarettes is so difficult to do, lies in the nicotine each cigarette contains. Nicotine is a chemical compound which scientists classify as toxic. It is the addictive substance that makes smokers return repeatedly to cigarettes. However, we’re here to tell you that the science says nicotine is a far safer alternative than smoking cigarettes… hence the existence of Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a tool for quitting smoking.
Let’s learn more about nicotine to find out how long it stays in our body for, and how you might test for it if you were an insurance provider.
What You Must Know About Nicotine
Nicotine is the chemical in cigarettes and some vape juices which makes the product addictive. It has long received a bad reputation for being an addictive component in cigarettes, but nicotine is actually often misunderstood. Why? Nicotine makes you come back to smoke or vape repeatedly, but it is nowhere near the most harmful chemical you might find in cigarettes. Rather, nicotine is far less harmful than the worst chemicals in cigarettes, such as formaldehyde, arsenic, and plutonium-210: the last of which is radioactive.
Scientific studies often find nicotine as a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes because nicotine on its own is simply addictive with a few potential health hazards. On the other hand, a cigarette contains about 7,000 chemicals when you burn it. One such study listed in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology lists the potential health hazards of nicotine use over time as:
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disorders
- Increased risk of respiratory disorders
- Increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders
- Decreased immune response
Nicotine affects your oxidative stress levels, your cell proliferation, and a few other parts of the body. It is not listed as carcinogenic. There is no evidence to suggest that nicotine itself causes cancer. Cancer Research UK say that vaping is a far healthier choice than smoking because nicotine does not cause cancer.
Vaping and Nicotine
Vaping is a good way to replace the nicotine you get from cigarettes with another, cleaner form of nicotine. The chemical is isolated in e-liquids, added to a vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol solution to make it syrupy, and flavourings are added. These flavourings are food grade and closely regulated here in the UK. By UK laws, nicotine is the only potentially harmful substance that should be in your e-liquid. Even then, you can simply choose to vape without nicotine to enjoy the flavours without the worry.
As we already stated though, there is no concrete link between nicotine use and specific illnesses. We know it negatively affects your body, but not in a way where it directly causes a traceable disease. Think of nicotine as less harmful than alcohol but similar in addiction. It is long term, unmanaged, repetitive use, which will affect your health. Taking nicotine on a Saturday night with your pint probably won’t make you any sicker than usual when it comes to Sunday morning.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your Body For?
Nicotine will stay in your body for up to 3 days after your last use. Similar to many addictive drugs, the “detox period” is somewhere between 24 and 72 hours. How quickly the drug leaves your system depends on multiple factors, including your age, height, weight, genetic predisposition, everything down to how often you eat.
However, and it’s a big however, if you smoke cigarettes, the effects will show up in your system for far longer. The after effects of smoking just one cigarette live in your blood for 10 days after you quit. You can find cigarette effects in your urine and your saliva for four days after you quit.
So if you vape nicotine, it will leave your system within 3 days. If you smoke a cigarette, the effects show for up to 10 days.
What are the Methods of Testing for Nicotine?
Anyone performing a nicotine test on you has two indicators of nicotine use to look for. They can look for the nicotine itself, which will only be there for three days, or they can test for Cotinine. Cotinine is a chemical the body produces on contact with nicotine. It is visible in the body for longer than nicotine is.
Cotinine is present in the blood for 1-10 days after you stop using nicotine. It is in your urine 3 to 4 days after you quit. A saliva test is the most effective, cheapest methods of testing for either cotinine or nicotine. UK nicotine testing kits prefer a blood sample or a urine sample. Rarely, you will be asked for a hair sample.
Hair and nail samples are the worst for those who need to test negative. They can store cotinine for up to 3 months.
Ways to Test Negative for Nicotine
The most obvious way to test negative for either substance is to stop using them 10 days or more before your test. Alternatively, clipping your hair or nails might prevent lab tests on these areas.
Ordering a nicotine neutralizing gum may help you to test negative in a saliva test for nicotine. These gums won’t work for a cotinine test.
Legend says that brushing your teeth more often and using a mouthwash can help you rid your saliva of nicotine and cotinine quicklier. You can also drink hot water with lemon to increase the rate of fluids flowing through your body. You can also up your diuretic intake to help yourself flush out your system for a urine test.
There is no real way to pass a nicotine blood test as a smoker. You can try eating foods rich in antioxidants to purge the nicotine from your system. Try foods like blueberries or detox drinks.
Do All Health Insurance Providers Test for Nicotine?
No, not all healthcare providers perform nicotine tests before they agree to insure you. However, if you tell the insurance provider that you are a non-smoker and you develop lung problems, they may want assurances that you didn’t bring these problems on yourself before they agree to cover medical bills.
You may be tested for nicotine by a healthcare provider, but there are other reasons why you might be tested for nicotine. Your job may require it, you could be scheduled for a surgery, or suspected of a nicotine overdose. You may get nicotine testing if you are engaged in smoking cessation programs, and you could even be ordered to test by the court.
Is Nicotine-Free Vaping Possible?
Yes, nicotine-free vaping is possible and will make a great alternative. If you enjoy vaping and don’t want to quit, not using nicotine takes away the addictive element that might make a health insurance provider turn you down for life insurance.
Furthermore, since e-liquids without nicotine included are not tobacco products, they do not fall under the maximum nicotine-containing-e-liquid law, which limits the size of e-liquid bottles to 10ml. To this end, nicotine-free vape juices come in larger pack sizes, which means less waste and a more environmentally positive vape experience. You can check out some of these Reasons to Vape Without Nicotine for more on this.
Where to Buy 0% Nicotine Vape Juice?
You can buy everything you need for a positive vaping experience with or without nicotine, through the Vape Direct pages. We sell all nicotine strengths across a variety of vape juice flavours. You can also find out Which Vape to Buy in the UK here, if you need advice n which vape kit to use your vape juice with.
Don’t forget that you can stop into our Stacey Bushes or Milton Keynes vape shops if you wish to speak with one of our skilled salespeople. You can also browse our shop for vape juice which does hold nicotine, including Nic Salts and other brands of e-liquid.
Tricking a Nicotine Test is Dishonest
While we can recommend you on the ways to do it, we must place this disclaimer on the end to say that we do not recommend that you try to trick your healthcare provider, court ordered nicotine test, or other test for nicotine or cotinine. You should not try to fool any test, but especially those which are court ordered. Your actions could be illegal.
We repeat that the best way to avoid testing positive for nicotine or cotinine is by not using nicotine products for 10 days or more prior to your test. If you have a hair or nail test, then you should extend the period to 3 months before your test. Switch to vape products which are nicotine free so that you can still enjoy vaping without the harmful components.