When you look into purchasing life insurance, you may have to undergo a medical exam to qualify. As part of that examination, you may be subject to a life insurance nicotine test to see if you are a smoker. Smoking is an important consideration for insurance companies when it comes to distributing life insurance policies.
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This is why nicotine or cotinine test should be expected for those who have admitted to smoking or are suspected of currently being a smoker. If the insurer asks for a nicotine test, you have to perform it anyhow.
Table of Content
- Do Life Insurance Companies Test for Nicotine?
- How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?
- How Long for Nicotine to Leave the System for Life Insurance?
- Types of Nicotine Tests for Life Insurance:
- Foods that Help Flush Out Nicotine and Cotinine from the Body:
- How to Pass a Nicotine Test for Life Insurance?
Do Life Insurance Companies Test for Nicotine?
Yes, life insurance companies will test for nicotine as has many hospitals and clinics for the presence of the substance.
The nicotine test for life insurance is designed to measure the level of the substance in the system and to define once and for all if the person is a smoker. This is why seniors over 70 years with not so good health condition should get a guaranteed policy which is pricey but confirmed.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System?
Depending on how you define this question, the answer will vary. Depending on the amount that you smoke, how often you smoke, and your health, nicotine can stay with you for longer or shorter periods of time. Below we seek to give you enough information to understand the minimum and maximum amount of time that you will still have nicotine in your bloodstream after you quit smoking, chewing, or vaping.
You will still have chemical components of nicotine, known as cotinine, in your urine for at least 3 days and up to four months from the date of your last cigarette. Undetectable levels of nicotine may still be present within your body for another month after this, but most people will test as clean within two to three months, which is generally the same period of time for their hair.
For people with longer hair, testing may be able to detect trace amounts for over a year, but this is exceedingly rare and generally, results will not disqualify you from jobs or insurance based on the detectable levels.
The bloodstream on the other hand will only show traces of nicotine for between three to ten days, with saliva generally testing clean within four days. Heavy smokers have in the past tested positive up to 14 days from their last smoke on both of these tests. Blood-based testing is also considered the least accurate way to test for nicotine as a number of other chemicals found in common foods can cause a false positive.
For this reason, most jobs and insurance companies choose to use saliva swabs or urine tests to determine the eligibility of candidates.
Take into consideration…
All of the information here is subject to a wide level of variance, with components such as estrogen levels, racial make-up, and even the type of medication that a person is taking lending to this variance. However, most labs will test for levels of around 30 to 50 ng/ml, which will be cleared out of all body systems within weeks for even the heaviest of smokers.
It is important to remember that 90% of people on nicotine replacement treatments such as patches and gums will continue to test positive for the use of nicotine until they have ceased the use of these products. Generally a week off of these products is enough for tests to come back negative, but quitting cold turkey if you are in a cessation program will increase your odds of going back to nicotine use by at much as 60%.
How Long for Nicotine to Leave the System for Life Insurance?
To be safe, a person would have to stop smoking for at least a month. However, if the saliva or urine test is used, then roughly two weeks would be reasonable. The life insurance nicotine tests are designed to detect even minute quantities for up to that time.
Types of Nicotine Tests for Life Insurance:
As mentioned before, the life insurance nicotine test comes in three different forms, hair, saliva, and urine.
The hair will retain nicotine for the longest period. While there is no definitive date, it can last for up to 30 days or more depending on the length of the hair and the growth cycle. A hair test is arguably the most accurate nicotine test for life insurance as urine, and especially saliva tests are more sensitive.
However, hair is also the most expensive nicotine test and few companies will go to that length to test someone unless there is a convincing reason. While employees at healthcare facilities, for example, may be subject to such tests, the same cannot be said of those applying for life insurance.
The saliva test is far more popular than the hair test, but not quite as much as the urine. The saliva test is good for detecting nicotine up to one week or more since the last time a person used tobacco products. As a test, it is considerably more sensitive than the urine test, but it is also subject to some false positives that leads to a urine test for confirmation.
The saliva test is often used because it can detect nicotine use a little further back than a standard urine test, but it is still subject to a false positive because of the very nature of the test itself and the exposure of the person to nicotine.
This is the most common and arguably least expensive of the life insurance tests for nicotine. The standard urine test is very reliable. It can detect the substance up to one week since it was the last present in the bloodstream.
However, it is the least sensitive of the three tests. Barring unusual circumstances it cannot go back further than a week when determining if the person is a smoker or user of tobacco products. Therefore, it is certainly possible that a smoker could quit for a seven day period and pass the urine test.
Besides, it is also feasible to have a blood test performed to detect nicotine. But these are highly unusual and more expensive than a urine test which is why they are very rarely performed.
Foods that Help Flush Out Nicotine and Cotinine from the Body:
While nicotine or cotinine will gradually fade from the body over time, there are ways to remove nicotine from body fast. To flush out nicotine from the body, you will need to consume more of the specific types of fruits and vegetables that will provide the extra push to rid it from your body.
Several fruits and vegetables offer the ingredients to help remove nicotine from body naturally. Most of them through the presence of vitamins and antioxidant
Broccoli: This green vegetable is loaded with vitamin C which has been shown to to eliminate nicotine directly from the body. Not only will the vitamin C flush the nicotine from your blood, but it will also rid it from your urine as well which makes it helpful for a drug screening test for nicotine.
Oranges: Like broccoli, the vitamin C will rid the body of nicotine. However, oranges will also boost your metabolism so that the nicotine removes faster from the body.
Kiwi: This healthy fruit will get rid of the nicotine thanks to vitamin C. It also boosts the levels of vitamins A and E in your body.
Spinach: The many vitamins and folic acid play a substantial role in how to remove nicotine from the body. However, an added benefit is that it will make smoking taste bad which will help you kick the habit.
How to Pass a Nicotine Test for Life Insurance?
Obviously, the best way to pass life insurance nicotine test is to stop smoking at a point long before it could ever be detected through hair, saliva or urine. While the dates may vary, a person who stops smoking at least a month before they are tested stands a remarkably good chance that no nicotine will be detected in their system.
The fears of having nicotine in your system due to second-hand smoke is certainly a possibility. But a small one considering how little nicotine is exhaled by smokers. The dispersal in the air makes what little gets out even less concentrated.
When it comes to how life insurance companies test for nicotine or cotinine, they are not at the level where second-hand smoke exposure should make a difference. However, it is a small possibility that you should consider. To obtain a positive test result, you need to prepare yourself as well.
Attempting to flush the body of nicotine is a challenging endeavor due to the nature of the substance itself.
Nicotine will only stay in the bloodstream for 48 to 72 hours. The flat cells will also absorb the nicotine. This means that it can be released in smaller quantities for up to a 30 day period or longer.
So, trying to fool the life insurance company by drinking plenty of fluids and taking Vitamin C to help rid the body of nicotine might not work. However, all the “flushing” cannot remove the nicotine from the fat cells. This means that you are still subject to failing a life insurance nicotine test.
At the end…
Passing a nicotine test through the hair, saliva or urine will mean quitting smoking at least one month before the test is made. Plus, drinking plenty of water and taking Vitamin C will help, but time itself is your main ally in this quest.