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Smoking and Tobacco

How Long after Quitting Smoking

03/03/2011

Question:

How long after quitting smoking does it take for your carbon monoxide levels to return to normal and nicotine is out of your system?

Answer:

Carbon monoxide and nicotine are two markers of cigarette smoking. The time for any product to clear from the body depends on the amount in your system when you decide to quit smoking. Higher levels in your body will take longer to clear. Carbon monoxide and nicotine would generally be cleared in a day or so. A breakdown product of nicotine is called cotinine, which could take several days to a week to clear from your system. 
 
If your question is how quickly your body will recover from the effects of cigarette smoking, that will be considerably longer. So when you quit, plan on not smoking again so your body can continue to recover.

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Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor Emeritus
College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University