Life Insurance Nicotine Test – How Long It Stays in System?

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  • Post last modified:October 20, 2022

When buying a life insurance policy, one of the main requirements that will determine the size premium you will pay is that you have to undergo medical exams like the life insurance nicotine test.

If you are a nicotine consumer, you must know that the life expectancy for a nicotine smoker is 8-12 years lesser than an average human being. There is no hidden clause related to smoking that contains nicotine significantly.

Various public health campaigns and programs are being run to make people aware of the health hazards of smoking or consuming nicotine.

The adverse health effects of nicotine in the human body are prior reasons that cause insurance companies to raise the price for their policies to a large extent.

When people do not understand the implications of nicotine on their bodies internally and externally, they often question the higher prices of insurance policies.

The reality is that nicotine can damage your internal organs to a severe extent. It can be fatal in many cases.

Therefore, the insurance companies have implemented the nicotine test for applicants who want to purchase life insurance policies.

What is the Agenda of Nicotine Tests for Buying Life Insurance Policies?

life insurance nicotine testIn the United States, thousands of deaths are attributed to the use of nicotine which is found in cigarettes. This test is conducted to help insurance providers determine the number of premium individuals has to pay.

There are specific lifestyle habits that insurance companies try to find out in order to assess the health risk of an applicant.

Therefore, we should know about the agenda behind recommending these tests by insurance companies for filing the application:

To verify the extent of nicotine

Nicotine tests help in verifying the extent to which the person is affected, if so, and what can be its future implications. There can be people who smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes per day while there can be others who smoke every hour.

The intensity of consuming nicotine creates different impacts. People who do excessive smoking develop fatal diseases pertaining to the mouth, liver, kidney, and lungs.

To verify the claim of customers

Customers at times specify the use of nicotine in the past and claim to have completely recovered from its ill habits. A test can verify the claim of the customer as made in the application.

To determine the premium cost

The extent of nicotine in someone’s body will help in deciding whether the policy can be issued or not! Secondly, it will also help in determining the price of the premium for the customers if allowed to purchase the life insurance policy.

It should be known that smokers tend to pay a higher premium than nonsmokers for purchasing a health plan. The basic difference in the price of premiums is remarkable too.

Why is Life Insurance Nicotine Test So Important?

Some may wonder why it is important to conduct a nicotine test. Insurance providers actually based the premiums on the health risk of a person. A person who is smoking a lot has a higher chance of having certain diseases and illnesses.

This translates to higher health care costs and in worst-case scenarios even death. Nicotine can increase the risk of a person having heart disease and in some cases; it can also result in cancer which is a very expensive medical condition to treat.

To cushion the financial risk involved with the person who is using nicotine; insurance providers tend to charge higher premiums.

The insurance companies determine the risk factor associated with an applicant who files for a life or health insurance plan. In some policies, health insurance is inclusive of life insurance cover too.

However, just like it is mentioned above, serious ailments can be really expensive to treat and if the person succumbs to his condition, it will be like a double jolt on the company finances.

Therefore, they need to determine the amount of risk involved with the applicant and how much the applicant should be charged if tested positive on nicotine.

While it is known that smoking is an awfully bad and unhealthy practice that leads to deadly consequences, people relent to smoking pertaining to their lifestyle.

Do All Life Insurance Companies Ask for Nicotine Test?

Yes, almost all insurance companies will ask for the nicotine test.  It all depends on the kind of insurance policy that you want to purchase.

For instance, there are life insurance companies that do not require medical exams especially if you intend to get a guaranteed issue life insurance. This type of insurance is much more expensive compared to other types of life insurance policies.

The cost of the risks associated with any kind of medical condition of the applicants is already included in their basic price as well as premiums as stated at the time of purchase.

However, if you want to apply for standard life insurance plans you will be asked to go through a medical examination, and the nicotine test will be one among several others.

If you apply for policies such as the ‘no medical exam, no waiting period’ policy you will not be asked any question before issuing the policy, find it here.

Similarly, there is only a health questionnaire but a medical examination in a simplified life insurance policy where the customer is expected to answer the questions in all honesty.

If the cause of death is determined to be any of the health issues not duly stated at the time of purchasing the policy, it can create legal difficulties for the beneficiaries in receiving the promised money.

Therefore, always be truthful and state your health conditions dutifully at the time of purchasing a life insurance plan.

How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?

Some people come with heroic ideas of simply quitting smoking maybe the day before undergoing a medical test so that their body can show ‘no results’ for nicotine or lower levels of it.

However, nicotine just doesn’t make an easy exit from your system if you think so!

Nicotine which is comprised of about 40,000 chemicals is usually found in cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, etc. Nicotine can be quiet addictive.

When a person inhales the smoke coming from tobacco, the body absorbs the nicotine through the lungs and it reaches the blood and the brain in just a matter of seconds.

Nicotine stays for about 15 to 20 days in urine. After the specific period, there will be no traces of nicotine found in your urine. In saliva, it can stay up to 4 days.

Nicotine makes its way through your blood too and stays there for at least 3 weeks. Some may not even be aware of it but nicotine stays in hair for 1 to 3 months.

The readers must know that when nicotine enters your body, it makes way for the formation of another compound- cotinine- which is again a health hazard.

Cotinine doesn’t leave your body before three weeks once it settles there. Providers have different ways to determine the extent of nicotine or cotinine in your body.

The tests help them determine the concentration levels of compounds that are implanted into the system. Do you know that even if you are not an active smoker but a passive one still the nicotine can enter your body system?

For example, if you live with an active smoker in your house or one of your colleagues smokes in your presence quite often- it makes you a passive smoker.

The nicotine enters your body through the air and gets you infected. However, those levels can easily be detected in the medical examinations to be very low and are not really alarming as much as insurance companies are concerned.

How Long Does It Take for Nicotine to Get Out of Your System?

There are many factors that can influence how long nicotine stays in the system. One of which is the frequency of usage which is divided into three groups: light users, medium users, and heavy users.

There are some people who only smoke once a week while there are others who smoke heavily on a daily basis.

You also have to factor in the differences among individuals like age, diet, hormones, and genes. In fact, the time of the day can also be one of the factors that you need to consider.

There are other factors to consider that we must elaborate here for the understanding of our readers:

–    What was the amount of smoking (intake of Nicotine)

–    When was the last time that you did smoking

–   What is the present condition of your health, to specify, the resistance of the body to bear with the amount of nicotine present in your body?

If you are planning to quit smoking anytime soon, it is better to start early. As we have mentioned above that usually the companies suggest urine tests for the candidates for the detection of nicotine.

Also, it takes 15 days for urine to completely flush out, so it is better that you quit smoking at least 30 days before undergoing the test. It will keep you within safe limits to make sure that you pass the test.

Is Smoking the Only Source of Nicotine Intake?

Not really. Although the most important form of Nicotine intake is smoking itself, there are various other sources that contain Nicotine such as cigars, chewing tobacco, smoking cessation products, and passive smoking.

Well, passive smoking is not really a thing to worry about as far as the urine test is considered.

Smoking cessation products are those that help in weaning off the habit of smoking. These products contain a substantial amount of Nicotine that helps in quitting smoking.

Technically, if you left smoking a few months ago using this product, there are high chances that Nicotine is still present in your body.

Types of Life Insurance Tobacco Test

There are four different types of nicotine tests: hair, saliva, blood, and urine. Among different types of tests, a hair test is considered to be the most sensitive and it is also one of the most expensive nicotine tests.

Nicotine stays in hair for several months which makes it a good indicator as to whether a person is smoking or not.

However, not all insurance companies can actually afford to shoulder the cost of conducting a hair test. Most are more likely to use saliva or urine test.

Between the two, the saliva test is much more sensitive which makes it one of the better options among insurance companies. Let us learn about these tests in detail here:

The Urine Test

If you have ever undergone a medical test you must be already aware that the examiner asks you to provide a sample of urine. They use your urine to test the presence of nicotine or cotinine in your body.

In many cases, people say that if the urine gets liquidated enough for example if the person has had a lot of fluids the previous day followed by no smoking for a day, the levels of nicotine get flushed out to great extent.

This affects the ingenuity of the test significantly. But since there are other tests aligned with the urine test, this one is performed in line with other tests.

Also, the urine test is quite a cheaper option and therefore insurance companies do not hesitate to recommend it.

The Saliva Test

When it comes to reliance, the saliva test is a bit more reliable than the above-mentioned urine test. Given cheaper costs and higher accuracy, these tests are easily carried out and available too.

However, they are less popular than urine tests. They can detect nicotine that has been prevailing in your saliva or bloodstream for over a month. The company opts for either of these tests or often both as per their norms.

The candidate will have to provide the test samples to the lab as per the directives.

The Hair Test

One of the most trustworthy tests is a Hair test in case of Nicotine detection. However, these tests are very rare. This is because the process involved in administering a hair test is quite lengthy.

It takes a long time and the costs involved are higher too. Neither the company nor the customers want to pay for the amount which is only an additional clause.

This test is performed in rare cases when there is an extremely high chance of doubt or miscreant. However, one can trust hair tests for the detection of cotinine and nicotine as they prevail in hair follicles for more than 3 weeks time.

That means if you would have taken nicotine through tobacco or smoking (or another medium) 3 to 4 weeks back only once too, it can be detected through a hair test.

The good news for applicants is that since the frequency of conducting the hair test is extremely low, most of the small labs are not even equipped with mandatory tools for the test. So, there is a high probability that you would not be taking it too.

The Blood Test

Nothing can beat a blood test when it comes to accuracy. These are unique tests that are conducted to find traces of positive nicotine or cotinine in the blood, but also for many other ailments detection.

In the case of nicotine, a blood test can accurately specify the limit of nicotine substances present in your blood at the time of the test.

Nevertheless, the blood test happens to be the most expensive of all the above!

Therefore, companies avoid blood tests for nicotine as such it is conducted for sugar or other ailments in the blood already.

Can I Pass Life Insurance Nicotine Test If I’m a Smoker?

If you want to get a life insurance policy and you were smoking, you’re much better off if you are truly honest with your smoking habits or finally quit smoking.

You wouldn’t want to experience any problem later on if you did not declare your current health condition and your lifestyle habits.

That is why it is much better than you declare about your smoking habits prior at the time of filling the application and be willing to pay a higher premium.

Eating Habit that Helps Flush Out Nicotine From Your Body Fast

fresh foods to remove nicotine from bodyThere is only a specific amount of time in which nicotine stays in the body and eventually, it fades over with time. The good news is that there are ways to get rid of it.

There are actually certain types of vegetables and fruits that you can eat for flushing out the nicotine from the body.

These foods contain antioxidants and vitamins that give that extra push to eliminate any contaminated substance present inside the body.

One of those is broccoli which has high vitamin C content.

Let us learn about these popular fruits and vegetables that help in removing Nicotine from the body rapidly:

  • Broccoli is proven to remove nicotine from the body and it can also enhance your immune system significantly.
  • Another food that can flush out nicotine in the body is a kiwi fruit which is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
  • Oranges are said to replenish the lost Vitamin C in the body at a fast pace. It helps in flushing out nicotine.
  • Lemon is also a rich source of Vitamin C and it is loaded with citric acid that acts as a pure cleanser for our bodily system. It helps in flushing out any unwanted traces of Nicotine from our body.
  • Chewing Ginger does not only help in flushing out Nicotine from the body but also helps in keeping away the cravings for Nicotine.
  • Spinach is a rich source of Vitamin B9 as well as folic acid that is known to excrete Nicotine considerably.
  • Pomegranates are popularly known to increase the content of Red Blood Cells in blood. Our body loses its strength and immunity under the effect of Nicotine. This fruit will regulate the blood pressure along with contributing to excreting Nicotine out of the body.

Other than food habits too, there are ways to get rid of nicotine at a faster pace.

One of the best ways to remove nicotine from our bodies is to drink a lot of water. Drinking water in more than a sufficient amount helps in flushing out the unnecessary Nicotine levels from the body.

Another effective tool is to work out and excrete toxins from your blood. When we exercise, the unwanted toxic elements eliminate from our body in the form of sweat thus making us resistant to wear and tear under the effect of Nicotine.

How to Pass a Nicotine Test for Life Insurance?

The best way to pass a nicotine test to get life insurance is to finally quit smoking.

Although there are ways on how you can flush out the nicotine and you also have the information on how long nicotine stays in the body, the best solution is to stop smoking.

You are doing this not just to pay lower premiums but also to improve your health. If you can quit smoking, you can have a healthier life and reduce health risks.

Quit smoking, it is much better, to be honest about it and declare it to the insurance company.

If you are planning on quitting smoking anytime soon and want to pass a nicotine test for life insurance, we recommend that you wait for a few weeks before you file the application.

As we have mentioned in our article that it may take a few weeks to let’s say 3-4 weeks for nicotine to get flushed out of your body completely.

Therefore, wait for a month after quitting smoking to apply for life insurance. It increases your chances of clearing the test with flying colors.


Nicotine tests are mandatory to be taken up while going through a paramedical examination for life insurance. There are several types of tests but mostly the companies conduct urine tests to trace the presence of nicotine.

Generally, it takes 3-4 days for nicotine to flush out of urine while it takes a few weeks to completely eliminate from our hair.

Therefore, if you have to apply for life insurance choose either of two-

–    quit smoking entirely a few weeks before filing an application for life insurance

–    declare about your smoking habit in your application and pay higher premiums as stated

There are fruits and vegetables along with water and exercises that help in flushing out Nicotine from our body at a faster rate. Use all your understanding and willingness to get rid of Nicotine once it enters your system to pass through the Nicotine test for life insurance.

Linda Chavez

I'm a burial & senior life insurance expert, independent agent, Founder & CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. I have been working in this sector since 2004 and established my own company in 2014. I have a team of seven members, and we are trying hard to share the knowledge we've gathered. We know how difficult often it is to find an affordable policy. Hence, we are doing our best to help you.