What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a chemical found in tobacco. When tobacco is smoked, the nicotine is absorbed by the lungs. When chewed, it is absorbed by the skin in the mouth. Either way, nicotine reaches the brain in a matter of second. Nicotine mimics acetylcholine, a chemical naturally found in the brain, and binds to acetylcholine receptor molecules. Some of the receptors are located in the brain’s pleasure centre, which would explain some of the euphoric effects of nicotine.

How Nicotine Causes Addiction

It’s no secret that nicotine is highly addictive. 90% of smokers say they want to quit, but have been unsuccessful. Nicotine withdrawal causes irritability, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and insomnia. Second hand cigarette smoke contains a number of harmful chemicals, including tar and carbon monoxide. Smoking is a leading cause of heart and lung disease, and is responsible for approximately a quarter of cancers in the UK.

Using a Nicotine Test Kit

The best way to determine whether an individual uses tobacco or other nicotine products is with a simple nicotine test kit. This is the most commonly used test because it available over the counter at any pharmacy, so it is easy to get. The test detects cotinine, one of the by products of nicotine metabolism.

The nicotine test kit works much like any other urine drug test. The sample is obtained, and a detection strip is dipped and left for five minutes. When the time is up, the result is read. The test is positive if the strip detects more than 200ng/ml of cotinine. The results from the nicotine test kit are highly reliable.

How Long the Test Can Detect Nicotine

A nicotine test kit actually tests for cotinine.

As soon as nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream, it begins to be metabolised into cotinine. Cotinine is excreted into the urine along with other waste products from the body. Nicotine, or rather, cotinine, is detectable in the urine for about 3 to 4 days after use, though this varies in some circumstances. In passive smokers, the nicotine may be detected 2 to 3 weeks after quitting. Nicotine from smoking menthol cigarettes may also be detected a little bit longer than regular cigarettes.

How to Remove Nicotine Effectively

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant that can cause some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Despite withdrawal, quitting is possible. Here are some ways to rid your body of nicotine more quickly and make withdrawal easier:

  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking lots of water helps stimulate the body to process and release nicotine into the urine.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is high in antioxidants, fibre, and water. The fibre and water help your body remove the nicotine, while antioxidants help your body to repair the damage done by using tobacco products.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Exercise improves circulation and gives your body the opportunity to release toxins via your sweat glands.
  • Eat foods that increase bile production in the liver, such as garlic, onion, and egg yolks. Bile helps the body remove nicotine and other toxins.

Photo Credit: Lydia on Flickr