How long does nicotine stay in the system? Is there any risk associated with quitting smoking "cold turkey"?
Nicotine is a short-acting drug that is eliminated from the body relatively
quickly (i.e., within a day or so). However, the effects of acute nicotine
withdrawal can be felt for as much as two weeks or more. In addition, the
byproducts of nicotine can be detected in the blood for up to a month after you
stop smoking. This is only of concern if you are in a situation where someone
else might want to test you for the presence of nicotine or nicotine byproducts
in your system.
Most people can quit "cold turkey" without any ill effects other than feeling
irritable, restless, and craving cigarettes. However, if you have any medical
condition for which you are (or should be) receiving treatment, it's a good
idea to check with your doctor first. He or she can also support your efforts
to quit and discuss nicotine replacement options if you choose to slowly wean
yourself off nicotine.
If you're going to quit, check out the many resources we have here at the zine.
I'm sure you'll find at least some of them helpful.
Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.
Director, Research Division
Behavior Therapy Associates
3810 Osuna Rd NE Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Behavioral Self-control Program for Windows