Nicotine Poisoning: How Bad Is It?

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Smoking is an ordinary thing you see almost every day, but what most people do not know is that the nicotine, the substance found in cigarettes, is actually a poisonous substance.


Nicotine molecule chemical structure on blackboard. Chemical strNicotine is a natural substance found in tobacco that is responsible for smoking addiction. It has a bitter and unpleasant taste, and aside from the cravings and physical addiction, nicotine is also potentially deadly.

High concentration of nicotine is so potent that it is normally used in insecticides. Smokers consume about 1 to 2mg of nicotine out of the 10mg nicotine content of an average stick of cigarette. While it can be said that the nicotine exposure of smokers still fall into the safe level, it won’t really take long to reach the toxicity level of nicotine.


When an average smoker consumes lower amounts of nicotine, there is a low concentration of nicotine in the blood and this only affects the receptors in the brain. But chain smokers who consume large amounts of nicotine can experience a nicotine overdose. In this case, the nicotine attaches to the muscles and the brain, creating a larger concentration of this substance in the body. The effects of nicotine become more noticeable.

Common Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning

Exposure to high concentration of nicotine causes a very long list of uncomfortable and even harmful physical effects. Some of the common negative effects include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle twitching
  • Difficulty breathing

Possible Danger to Your Kids and Pets

Your children and pets are at the greatest risk of nicotine poisoning. Cigarette butts lying around your house can be eaten or played by your child and even your pets. Their smaller body weight makes it easier to reach high toxicity level. If ingested, a stick of cigarette is enough to make a toddler very sick, and a couple of cigarettes can be very fatal. A single pack of cigarettes has sufficient nicotine content to kill an adult if ingested. Cigarette butts can also be very fatal to your pets when eaten. It contains high concentration of nicotine.

If you cannot avoid smoking inside the house, it is important that you immediately clean or dispose the cigarette butts after smoking, or you smoke outside the house or somewhere away from your kids and pets, or better – quit smoking now. It will not only ensure the safety of your family from nicotine poisoning, it also lessens your health risks.

Also, make sure to keep any nicotine replacement products away from the reach of your children. Nicotine patches and gums may draw your kid’s curiosity and toy with them. It’s important that you place them somewhere safe and away from your kids.


What to do in case of nicotine poisoning?

If you believe that your child or anyone in the household had a nicotine overdose, it is important to treat the case like a serious emergency. Never consider nicotine overdose or poisoning less harmful. Call your physician immediately.


Previous post:

Next post:

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list