How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your Saliva?

February 26, 2018

Jelly Bell

How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your Saliva?

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Smoking is a immense threat to public health and the leading cause of many diseases. No matter how you smoke it, tobacco is hazardous to your health. In a typical cigarette, the average amount of nicotine that smokers absorb is about 1 to 2 milligrams. This substance affects not only your lungs but also your entire body.

In this article “How long does nicotine stay in your saliva?”, we concentrate on giving you some useful information about what nicotine is and how long it stays in your saliva.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is a nitrogen-containing chemical, called alkaloid, which can find in the leaves of the tobacco plant. Any type of tobacco products, such as cigarette, cigar, pipes, and snuff is dangerous for your health. Typically, smoking or inhaling cigarettes are the common ways to consuming nicotine, but people who contact with SECONDHAND SMOKE CAN ALSO GET NICOTINE.

Nicotine also comes from the nightshade family like tomatoes, potatoes, red peppers although its amount in them is tiny. Besides, nicotine was widely used to eliminate insects as well and considered as an insecticide and fumigant in the past.

If you want to know more about the relationship between nicotine in tobacco and your body,  read this article HOW LONG DOES TOBACCO STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?.

Nicotine is a nitrogen-containing chemical, called alkaloid
Nicotine is a nitrogen-containing chemical, called alkaloid

What are the effects of nicotine on your body?

  • When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine passes through your lungs and goes into the bloodstream.
  • From the bloodstream, nicotine reaches to your brain in just seven seconds, stimulates the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to disrupt its normal function, gradually leading to change the number and the sensitivity of these receptors.
  • Psychoactive effects: At the brain, nicotine acts as both a stimulant or a relaxant
  • In small dose (1 mg in every cigarette), nicotine stimulates to release some neurotransmitter like adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, beta-endorphin and so on to create a pleasurable feeling, ease your pain, anxiety and other negative symptoms.  
  • In case you have high concentrations (30-60 mg), nicotine’s effect changes from stimulant to relaxant or sedative
  • Pharmacologic effects: When you expose to nicotine, your heart rate, stroke volume or oxygen consumption rate of the heart muscles also increase because of the impact of adrenaline which is released by nicotine stimulation.
  • Nicotine is well known to be HIGHLY ADDICTIVE AFTER AN USING PERIOD so the smokers will experience nicotine withdrawal with some symptoms: restlessness, irritability, sweating, and concentration difficulty after stopping consume it.
  • Nicotine is entirely harmful to your health as it is considered as a proven carcinogen.

How long does nicotine stay in your saliva?

When “HOW LONG DOES NICOTINE STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?” is a frequently searched topic, many people want to know apparently about how long nicotine stays in their saliva because it is reported that a high concentration of nicotine exists longer in a salivary gland than the other tissue [1].

Nicotine normally accumulates in various regions of your body, especially in bodily fluids like blood, urine, saliva, hair or nail. So, how long does nicotine stay in those parts? It is showed that in each part, the period of nicotine removal is different. Cotinine, the major metabolite of nicotine, is used to determine the nicotine exposure. The stay of cotinine in your saliva depend on your frequency of tobacco usage.

Typically, with light and medium users, cotinine in the saliva is detectable for 10 hours after the last cigarette they smoke. However, regarding heavy smokers, cotinine may present in their saliva up to 4 days. After four days, the saliva nicotine test will not give a positive result anymore.

cotinine in the saliva is detectable for 10 hours after the last cigarette they smoke
Cotinine in the saliva is detectable for 10 hours after the last cigarette they smoke

How to test for nicotine in your saliva?

Saliva nicotine was demonstrated to be useful in the assessment of tobacco [2]. The most widely used biomarker in the evaluation of nicotine usage is cotinine, which is the breakdown product of nicotine.

The concentration of cotinine in the saliva is raised by 15% to 40% by the small molecules, minimal protein binding in blood and water solubility. Therefore, the saliva test is considered as one of the precise methods to measure nicotine level.

Moreover, it is also convenient and preferred than other measures because it is noninvasive and not necessary to collect urine specimens or blood samples.

So how is this test done? Firstly, the saliva sample is collected from the patient. Then a test strip is soaked in the sample and left for 20 minutes. The reaction of the strip to cotinine will tell you the level and quantity of nicotine exposure. The test strip is numbered from 0 to 6, in which 0 means nicotine-free in your saliva and 6 indicates the highest concentration of nicotine presents in your saliva.

The saliva test can be used to find very low levels of nicotine, ranging from 0 to 2000 ng/ml, which even smaller than the standard urine test. Apart from the saliva, nicotine can also be detected in the blood or the urine. Thus blood test or urine test also can be applied to tell people who need to know how much nicotine they consume.

Read HOW LONG DOES NICOTINE STAY IN YOUR BLOOD to know in more detail.

Several tricks that help you to pass the nicotine in the saliva test

In some particular situations such as job interview or getting health insurance, beating the cotinine test is of paramount importance. If you are a heavy smoker and you are thinking about how to pass this test without quit, the following tricks will be useful for not only smokers like you but also secondhand smokers to overcome this test in a short time:

  • You should stop smoking at least 3 to 5 days before carrying out this test, the longer time the better.
  • A saliva detox mouthwash like Supreme Klean Saliva Mouthwash is also a good suggestion for you to get rid of nicotine in your saliva. It helps to eliminate all toxins from your mouth and stop your salivary gland from producing saliva for 30-40 minutes. To be sure, use an in-home test kit to check before you do a real test.
  • With non-smokers: They should limit contact or avoid living or working with smokers because SECONDHAND SMOKE ALSO CAN CAUSE THE PRESENCE OF NICOTINE IN YOUR SALIVA.

What factors does influence how long nicotine stays in your saliva?

Although the time to keep nicotine in your saliva is said above, there are several factors can affect, leading to change the stay of nicotine in your saliva. Thus let’s explore what these factors are.

Time of smoking

To answer the question “How long does nicotine stay in your saliva?”, we need to know that the capacity of the body to eliminate substances varies during a day. Typically, at the night time, especially the period from 6 p.m to 3 a.m, the nicotine removal out of saliva is at the lowest rate because this is a relaxing phase of the body and hepatic blood flow declines.

Therefore, with people who have a habit of smoking at night or before go to bed, nicotine will stay in their saliva and their body longer.

The frequency of usage

This factor plays a pivotal role in how long does nicotine stay in your saliva. The number of cigarettes smoked per day is closely related to the saliva nicotine level. Nicotine will stay in your saliva and system prolongedly if you smoke tobacco frequently.

Genes and hormone

Some studies showed that depending on the variation of CYP2A6 gene which is responsible for nicotine metabolism, the stay of nicotine in the saliva and system is mainly different among people [3], [4]. So, for how long? It is indicated that the more this gene your body has, the shorter time nicotine does exist in your saliva.

Estrogen hormone accelerates the action of CYP2A6, so women have a faster metabolic rate of nicotine than men because they usually have a higher level of estrogen.

Otherwise, it is also indicated that nicotine stays in the saliva of Asians, Africa and Americans longer than the Caucasians or Hispanics.


Age contributes an essential part to answer the question “How long does nicotine stay in your saliva?”. The older you are, the weaker your body system works. A study showed that the elderly aged 65 years old or over have the slower clearance of nicotine than the adults [5].


Nicotine stays or eliminates in the saliva depending on the variation of blood flow through it. Meals are considered as one of the physiological events that can affect the nicotine metabolism. After a meal, blood flow to the live raises about 30% and the nicotine clearance increases about 40% as a result.


Taking some medications can affect the nicotine metabolism as well. A few drugs which induce the increase of CYP2A6 gene like dexamethasone, phenobarbital or oral contraceptives will remove nicotine from the saliva and the body faster.

In contrast, several drugs which inhibit the action of CYP2A6 such as methoxsalen or tranylcypromine can slow down the process of nicotine metabolism [5].

Some tips to remove nicotine from your saliva in particular and your system in general quickly

HOW TO GET NICOTINE OUT OF THE SYSTEM is a question asked by both smokers and non-smokers. Thus we will give them some following suggestions to flush nicotine out efficiently.


Consuming plenty of water is essential to get rid of nicotine in your system. You should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water to remove not only nicotine but also all toxins from the body through the kidneys. The more water you take, the more nicotine eliminated.

Eat fruits and vegetable

They act as antioxidants and help to increase the process of detoxification and flush nicotine out of the body. They consist of high fiber and water content as well, which support the metabolism of nicotine in the body.

Eat fruits and vegetable
Eat fruits and vegetable

Eat a lot of vitamin C- rich foods

Using FOODS TO FLUSH OUT NICOTINE FROM THE BODY is an excellent way and eating vitamin C- rich foods is a wonderful choice. Vitamin C not only is a great antioxidant but also boosts the process of nicotine metabolism to remove faster from the system. It can be found in pineapples, strawberries, oranges and other citrus fruits

Eat foods that increase the production of bile

These foods consist of onions, garlic, egg yolks which raise bile production in the liver and speed up the process of nicotine removal.

Dry herbs

The level of nicotine in the system will decrease if you eat dry herbs in a direct form or by mixing them with your meals.

Do regular exercise

Choosing an appropriate level of activity will boost the metabolic rate and lead to removing nicotine out of the body faster.


To sum up, “How long does nicotine stay in your saliva” depends on an abundance of factors that influences to the level of nicotine in your body or the ability of your system to metabolize and flush nicotine out. We believe that the information above will be useful and can be applied at any time.

If you are unsure about anything or have any further question, do not hesitate to contact and ask us, we are pleased to help!

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