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Can a Doctor Tell if You Vape Through a Blood Test?

November 08, 2023

Vaping can be an enjoyable hobby, but it's not always something vapers want everyone to know. If you're concerned that your doctor may be able to tell that you vape through a blood test, you've come to the right place. We'll tackle this question and provide helpful information to help you understand how nicotine can be detected and ways to get it out of your system quicker.

Half-Life of Nicotine

The “nicotine buzz” is almost immediate, but how long does it last in the body? The elimination half-life of nicotine is about two hours

The amount you consume will dictate how long it takes for nicotine to leave the body altogether. It would take another two hours to cut what's remaining in the body in half and another two hours to eliminate half of that until the entire nicotine presence is eliminated.

However, data shows that the elimination half-life of nicotine was significantly longer with e-cigarette use due to the increased frequency of use and the likelihood of swallowing vapour compared to cigarettes. You may want to keep this in mind when determining whether a doctor can tell that you vape through a blood test.

Does Nicotine Show Up in Blood Tests?

Nicotine can be tested in blood tests by measuring cotinine, nicotine's major metabolite that the liver oxidises. Cotinine can also be tested via various body fluids, including saliva and urine, but its presence may last longer in the blood. As the primary biomarker used to identify tobacco or e-cigarette users, cotinine has a much longer half-life than nicotine itself, which makes it a more valuable metric to measure when determining the use of nicotine products.

Factors That Affect Nicotine Detection Time

How long nicotine remains detectable in your blood depends on several factors, from age to body mass. Let’s cover different factors that will affect how long nicotine is detectable in your blood below:

  • Age: The older you get, the longer it will take for your body to excrete the nicotine present within it. The longer it takes to pass, the more it will be detectable. So, older people will likely take longer to fully metabolise nicotine than a younger person.
  • Body Mass: Your body mass will affect how quickly nicotine is metabolised in your system. The more muscle you have, the faster the process will be. Similarly, the more fatty tissue is present, the longer it may be detectable in your blood.
  • Frequency of Use: The frequency of your vaping habit can also affect how quickly nicotine leaves the body and is no longer detectable by blood tests. If you use your vape daily, it will likely remain detectable in your body longer than it would for a vaper who only uses their vape device once a week or less often.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help you to metabolise nicotine at a faster rate. Water helps flush traces of nicotine out of your system, helping it become undetectable more quickly.
  • Physical Activity: By exercising, you can get rid of the nicotine in your system more quickly, thanks to sweat. Since the skin plays a significant role in regulating the excretion of metabolic waste products (aka cotinine, in this case), more sweating can speed up its removal.
  • Genetics: Your genes can also affect the rate of excretion. As a result, nicotine can be detectable in your blood for a longer or shorter period, depending on the makeup of your internal chemistry. It's hard to know where you might fall.

How to Get Nicotine Out of Your System

Are you trying to speed up the process of cotinine excretion so it won't show up on a blood test? Here are three strategies that could potentially help.


The first key is to stay hydrated. When drinking plenty of water, your body can flush out toxins much faster than if you’re dehydrated. Aim for at least one gallon of water daily to maximise urination and excrete more of nicotine's metabolic compounds.


Finally, eating a healthy diet can help your body to get rid of nicotine faster. Focus on foods rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce cigarette smoke-related stress and may also help with e-cigarette vapour.


Exercising can also help. Try doing some light cardio or weights regularly to get rid of any traces of nicotine more quickly. And, if you need to get rid of a large amount of nicotine for an upcoming blood test, sweating as much as possible should be the goal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nicotine Detected in a Normal Blood Test?

Yes, nicotine use can be detected in a routine blood test with cotinine in the blood, its primary metabolite. Cotinine may be detectable several days after use, but its excretion can be sped up with hydration, exercise, and nutrition.

How Long Do You Have to Not Vape Before a Blood Test?

If you're hoping that an upcoming blood test won't detect nicotine in your system, you should stop vaping at least one week before your blood test, and you may want to go even longer as cotinine can remain in your system from 1 to 10 days. The length necessary may vary depending on how often you vape, how hydrated you are, how much you exercise, your body mass, and your age.

Final Thoughts

If you're worried that a doctor may be able to detect that you vape through a blood test, understanding nicotine's half-life and ways to speed up its excretion can be extremely helpful. The key is staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet. Additionally, it's essential not to use any nicotine products for some time before your blood test for best results.

If you're pausing vaping so nicotine doesn't appear on your blood test, consider switching to RELX's nicotine-free options to get you through this period. Check out our full selection now!

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