How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?
Erik Rosengren - Snusexpert
15 March, 2024
6 min

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?

Nicotine stays in your system for 1 to 3 days after you stop using it. The main component of a nicotine pouch is synthetic or natural refined nicotine, which has a half-life of 2 hours. It means that once you stop using the nicotine pouch, the residues halve after 2 hours.

After 4 hours, only 1/4th of the original concentration remains in your body. The concentration keeps halving, and after 3 days, it becomes an almost untraceable amount. While this is a general timeline, it may not apply to everyone and every product, so we've covered the specifics below. 

How Does Nicotine From a Pouch Stay in Your Body?

When you place a nicotine pouch under your upper lip, your mucous membranes absorb the nicotine. This nicotine then travels through your bloodstream and reacts with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. This leads to the release of dopamine, adrenaline, and other neurochemicals, which represent the nicotine buzz.

Like the rest of the chemicals, the liver metabolizes nicotine through the enzymes CYP2A6, FMO, and UGT. The liver breaks down nicotine into cotinine, and other minor alkaloids like nicotyrine, nornicotyrine, and metanicotine. Nicotine and cotinine are the two most prominent byproducts of using nicotine products.

According to research published in the NCBI, the different byproducts of nicotine use are prevalent in:

Byproduct Available In
Nicotine Blood, Urine, Saliva, and Hair
Cotinine Blood, Urine, Saliva, and Hair
NNAL, NNAL-glucuronides Blood, Urine
Anatabine Urine

How Long Nicotine Stays In Parts of Your Body - Breakdown

The different byproducts of nicotine can stay in your body for quite a long time, depending on their half-lives. Here's a breakdown of the different types of nicotine and how long each stays in your body:

Type of Chemical Half Life (In Samples) How Long It Stays In Your Body?
Nicotine 1 to 2 Hours 1 to 3 Days
Cotinine 16 to 18 Hours 3 to 10 Days
NNAL, NNAL-glucuronides 6 Weeks Multiple Months
Anatabine 10 to 16 Hours 3 to 10 Days

The nicotine levels inside your body are at peak levels shortly after you use the nicotine pouch. Since most nicotine pouches last 30 minutes, the nicotine levels in your body will increase until you reach the 20 to 25 minute mark. This is the same period when nicotine is metabolized into cotinine. 

It's important to remember that all the nicotine isn't metabolized directly. Your liver transforms the nicotine consistently over a few hours, and your cotinine levels increase. How long does nicotine stay in each part of your body? Let's break it down.

How long does nicotine remain in the blood?

Nicotine stays in your blood for 1 to 3 days. It all depends on your metabolism, diet, and the latent abilities of your body. The same applies to byproducts like cotinine, which may stay in your blood for 3 to 10 days or more. 

How long does nicotine remain in the hair?

There is no fixed standard for this because nicotine can be detected in your hair for weeks or months. Since, blood flows to your follicles, nicotine can deposit in them. Hair tests for nicotine are not as reliable because of the varying genetic makeups, hair problems, and latent differences in humans.

How long does nicotine remain in urine?

Nicotine and cotinine can stay in urine for up to 8 weeks after initial usage. Urine is one of the ways your body expunges nicotine out of your system. Naturally, the amount of nicotine is much more concentrated in your hair compared to other parts of your body.

How long does nicotine remain in saliva?

Nicotine pouches are put under the lip and directly affect your saliva. Nicotine stays in your saliva for 1 to 3 days, depending on what you eat, drink, and your metabolism. Depending on when you take a saliva sample, the nicotine concentration can vary, with its peak near the initial usage. 

How Long Does Different Forms of Nicotine Stay In Your Body?

According to the NCBI, different forms of nicotine can stay in your body for variable periods. For example, when you use tobacco, it can stay in your body for much longer because of the increased absorption rate compared to cigarettes. 

Here's a brief snapshot from the NCBI article that specifies blood nicotine levels over time:

Cigarettes have low absorption rates and only last 5 minutes, which leads to a sharp rise in cotinine levels and a stable drop afterwards. Nicotine pouches and oral snuff release nicotine over a period of 30 minutes, which is why you can see the relative flat-line and slow descent after the initial rise.  

Nicotine replacement therapy options like nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches offer much more nicotine exposure. The graphs of these pouches are much slower and contain lower nicotine concentrations. 

How Do Nicotine Tests Work?

Nicotine tests work by checking the levels of nicotine and cotinine in different parts of your body. Because of the short half-life of nicotine, most people rely on cotinine levels. When you take a cotinine test, they ask you to collect a blood, urine, or saliva sample.

They then use different chemical processes to detect nicotine levels. According to Rochester University, the normal cotinine levels in a non-smoker's urine sample are less than 10 ng/mL. Based on the time of the sample after the previous nicotine use, the blood nicotine concentration can vary between 11 and 500 ng/mL.

Why Is Knowing Your Nicotine Residue Important?

Knowing how much nicotine is in your body can help you better prepare for different events and medical procedures. For example, nicotine pouches have been banned in certain sports, because the effects of nicotine are similar to those of doping agents. 

Before any professional game, you may be required to take a nicotine or cotinine test. Knowing how long nicotine can stay in your urine or other parts can help you plan your nicotine usage before a surgery. At the same time, certain medical surgeries can be hindered by elevated nicotine levels.

Knowing your nicotine levels and residual periods can help your doctor plan your surgery accordingly. Furthermore, knowing the concentration pattern of nicotine in the body can help you avoid nicotine poisoning and other harmful effects of nicotine overdose.

How To Quickly Flush Nicotine From Your System

Here are some efficient tips that can help you quickly flush nicotine from your system:

Exercise more to improve your metabolism

When you exercise more, it can help purge nicotine from your body more easily. Your liver metabolizes nicotine and purges it through urine. If you exercise more, your metabolism improves, and you remove traces of nicotine from your body more quickly.

Stay away from smoking spots

According to research, second hand smoke can also elevate the levels of nicotine in your body. In fact, secondhand smoke is more harmful to individuals because of the elevated carbon monoxide and toxin levels. By staying away from smoking spots or wearing a mask, you can prevent extra nicotine from entering your body.

Drink plenty of juices and water

When you drink more juices and stay hydrated, metabolites of nicotine in your body, like cotinine, can get out of your body more easily through urine. Overall, staying hydrated is great for improving your health, expunging harmful products like nicotine, and living a healthier life. 

Conclusion: How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System

Nicotine will stay in your system for 1 to 3 days, after the initial use. Byproducts of nicotine, particularly cotinine, can stay in your system for more than 10 days. NNAL, another byproduct, can stay in your body for weeks or months after the initial usage. 

By understanding the nicotine concentration periods in your body, you can take steps to ensure better health. You can exercise and drink more water to remove nicotine faster before your next big surgery or test. That's all for how long nicotine stays in your system. 


Certainly, we may also be wrong. Either way, our .com site offers a wider variety of products available to customers shopping from outsite of Europe, including a grand assortment of Swedish snus with tobacco.