How Long Does It Take for Nicotine to Leave Your System?

Nicotine is a preferred stimulant for millions of people around the globe. The use of tobacco based smoking products such as cigarettes, cigars, tobacco in smoking pipes and chewing tobacco all release significant quantities of nicotine into the blood stream. Nicotine acts as an immediate stimulant for most people; hence the preference for using it. Increased concentrations of nicotine in the blood stream are responsible for making people feel relaxed, and can make people feel motivated to do things, depending on the method and quantity of nicotine that has been consumed.

By way of example, smokers will tend to take long and generous puffs when they want to release stress but will tend to smoke in a hurry when they want to motivate themselves to get busy. Smoking slowly releases nicotine into the blood stream at a slower rate and activates the brain’s “reward” systems. However, smoking quickly releases nicotine into the blood stream instantly and initiates the “reward” as well as activity-based portions of the brain. Although it is extremely simple to introduce nicotine into the blood, it is far more difficult to completely remove nicotine from blood. Nicotine has been shown to be an even more addictive drug than others such as heroine!

The lingering presence of nicotine in the body acts as a reminder for nicotine consumption. It is popularly believed that nicotine is released from the human body within 72 hours of its consumption, but the truth is far different. The various aspects of nicotine storage in the body last for weeks after the most recent consumption of nicotine. Many people wonder about how long nicotine stays in your blood. Blood harbors both nicotine and metabolites released by nicotine. Once nicotine consumption is stopped, then both nicotine levels and nicotine metabolite levels in the blood decrease, but it must be kept in mind that these levels do not disappear altogether. The simplest answer to the question of how long does it take for nicotine to leave your system is a few weeks.

Once nicotine consumption is stopped, nicotine levels in the blood begin to gradually decrease. As nicotine levels in the blood recede - mostly in around a week - the body releases stimulants that had been triggered by nicotine. However, these releases are low when compared to the releases triggered by nicotine. This is what makes most smokers feel strange when they quit smoking. Finally, as nicotine levels in the blood keep decreasing over the coming weeks, the nicotine stored by various tissues in the body recedes to significantly lower levels.

Patients with surgical procedures planned are often advised to quit smoking weeks before surgery so that healing can be improved. Smoking significantly affects the combination of oxygen with haemoglobin. Naturally, haemoglobin in the blood has the greatest affinity for carbon monoxide, and then followed by carbon dioxide and lastly, oxygen. Therefore, when someone smokes, the oxygen associated with the hemoglobin is displaced and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide take its place. This results in blood that is low in oxygen content.

However, patients recovering from surgery need oxygen enriched blood to ensure proper healing. The use of nicotine restricts the association of oxygen with haemoglobin in blood: therefore, the consumption of nicotine by any other means such as tea spells trouble too. For this reason, surgeons recommend smokers quit smoking as it introduces significant quantities of nicotine into blood. The best approach is to quit smoking at least a few weeks before surgery. As explained above, the lingering presence of nicotine in the blood is lowered after a few weeks so to increase oxygen levels in the blood, smoking must be left alone several weeks before the surgery itself. Of course, the presence of nicotine in the blood does not eliminate the chance for effective healing but it does slow healing down significantly.

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