There´s a lot of information out there about drug tests for substances like weed and coke, but what about tests for nicotine? Despite tobacco being legal, hospitals and other employers sometimes insist on you passing a nicotine test before making good on a job offer. They often cite the increased health insurance costs for smokers, even though nonsmokers can also lead very unhealthy lifestyles.
So, how can you detoxify nicotine for bloodstream and urine tests? How long does nicotine stay in your body? Read on for more information.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay in the Body?
In nicotine tests, the test can look for either nicotine itself or cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine that stays in the system longer. This means even if you´re free from nicotine, you might still fail for cotinine. There´s also no standard cutoff for nicotine tests, so the detection period can vary.
Immunoassay urine tests for cotinine are cheap and commonly used, but they´re not currently that sensitive. They can usually detect nicotine 2-5 days after last smoking, although there is some evidence suggesting that it persists in the systems of passive smokers for much longer.
More sensitive tests can be performed using more expensive (and therefore less common) GCMS and ion pair reversed-phase chromatography. These have a longer detection time of 7-10 days.
Blood tests for cotinine also have a typical detection time of 7-10 days. Fortunately, they´re not that common due to the cost and the invasive nature of drawing blood.
Hair and Saliva Tests
Saliva tests are maybe the greatest concern, because they´re cheap, easy to administer, and accurate. The accuracy varies between kits, but some can detect tobacco use from 7-10 days ago.
Hair tests have a standard detection time of 90 days, so you can fail even if you stopped fairly recently.
How to Detoxify Nicotine for Bloodstream and Urine Tests
The above should give you an idea of how long in advance you need to stop smoking. You can also help your body by drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthily, and exercising.
Remember that when you stop smoking, you can´t use nicotine replacements such as gums, patches, and sprays, because these will reintroduce nicotine to your body. You need to just go cold turkey, try a nicotine-free herbal remedy, or see your doctor for an alternative. You should also avoid smoky environments to prevent passive smoking.
Quitting smoking isn´t easy for most people, so you may have setbacks along the way. Fortunately, the same detox solutions for drug testing can also be applied to nicotine tests, as long as it´s not a blood test. Many of these solutions can be used on the same day of your test: