Most important information about nicotine poisoning: Symptoms, signs & remedies
Nicotine is one of the reasons why people reach for cigarettes. The fact that the active substance is not one of the health-promoting chemical substances has long been proven by science and is nothing new.
- But how much of the neurotoxin is particularly harmful?
- When do you risk your life with cigarettes directly from nicotine poisoning?
- Who could be affected by nicotine poisoning?
- What are the symptoms and risks of an overdose?
In this article we will answer the above mentioned questions and show how to get rid of your nicotine addiction faster.
Read the article to the end to make sure you don’t miss any important information. They can literally save your life and that of the people around you.
Before we get to the core topic, let’s take a step back:
Which products contain nicotine and where does it come from?
The active ingredient is the chemical in leaves of tobacco plants that leads to physical addiction. It can be found in all cigars, smokeless tobacco (such as chewing goods or snuff) and most electronic cigarettes or cigarettes. Nicotine chewing gum, plasters and sweets also contain traces of this neurotoxin.
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What is nicotine poisoning?
Nicotine enters the body through the consumption of the products listed above. An overdose of the chemical leads to unpleasant symptoms in the body. You can find out what these are in the following article. If too much nicotine gets into the body, it is also called nicotine poisoning.
The amount of nicotine that eventually leads to overuse depends on several symptoms. These include, for example, body weight, age and how much the organism has already become accustomed to the poison.
If poisoning occurs, the affected person usually recovers quickly if the correct treatment is applied. However, a severe case of poisoning can also have long-term effects.
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How much nicotine is too much or fatal?
Studies show that about 50-60 mg of nicotine is a lethal dose for an adult weighing about 70 kg.
It is unlikely that you will get an overdose of nicotine from smoking cigarettes alone. Your body absorbs only about one tenth of the nicotine in a cigarette. This is about 1 milligram. Overdose with nicotine chewing gum or patches is rare, but generally possible if you do not follow the instructions for use exactly.
Healthy adults are therefore rarely affected by nicotine poisoning from cigarettes.
E-cigarettes indirectly pose a greater risk. Here, too, inhalation itself rarely leads to an overdose. The danger lies hidden in the holders in which the nicotine is stored. If the poison is accidentally swallowed, it can be very toxic. It can also be harmful if you spill it onto your skin or get a little into your eyes.
The most common target group of accidents related to nicotine poisoning and e-cigarettes are infants.
How much nicotine do small children need to take to get nicotine poisoned?
Because children are smaller, less nicotine is needed to poison them (or pets, for the same reason). It may be enough for the child to eat a cigarette end found on the floor. An older child experimenting with chewing tobacco may also suffer from an overdose.
Special care should be taken with liquid nicotine: This is often packed in colourful flasks that are particularly interesting for children. They usually smell sweet and are therefore particularly attractive. Even 1 teaspoon of liquid nicotine can be fatal for the average 12kg infant.
What are the symptoms or signs of nicotine poisoning?
Nicotine poisoning usually occurs in two phases. The symptoms usually last one to two hours after a mild overdose and up to 24 hours for severe poisoning.
The first symptoms appear within the first 15 minutes to one hour.
- sickness or vomiting
- stomach pains
- Fast, heavy breathing
- Faster heartbeat
- Higher blood pressure
- Pale skin
- drowsiness, unbalance or confusion
Late signs tend to be more like relaxation. They occur 30 minutes to 4 hours later:
- flat breathing
- slower heartbeat
- lower blood pressure
- weakness, slow reflexes or inability to control muscles
What remedies help with nicotine poisoning?
If overdose is suspected, especially in a child, call for emergency treatment immediately in the following cases:
- Ingestion of tobacco or nicotine products of any kind
- Contact of liquid nicotine with eyes or skin
- Respiratory distress
Don’t try to make someone who swallowed nicotine vomit. Make sure the stomach calms down. You can give water to the person, for example. Make sure the respiratory tract is clear. People are likely to vomit on their own.
If the poison comes into contact with the eyes, rinse them well with plenty of warm water for at least 15 minutes.
If liquid nicotine has reached the skin, wash well with soap and water (warm or cold) and rinse for at least 15 minutes. You should be careful not to scrub too hard.
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How can I avoid poisoning with nicotine?
If you smoke or use other nicotine products, you should take some basic precautions not to endanger your health or that of small children:
- Do not smoke near children. In principle, smoke doesn’t lead to nicotine poisoning, but it has other serious health consequences.
- Keep your home and your car nicotine-free. Keep all nicotine-containing products – cigarette packs, snuff cups, nicotine chewing gum – out of the sight and reach of your kids. Block the liquid nicotine containers and only buy refills that use childproof packaging.
- Dispose tobacco and cigarettes carefully so that children and pets cannot reach them. For example, never drop a cigarette end on the street or throw products in garbage cans.
To further reduce the risk, we recommend quitting smoking altogether. With our ultimate guide “Never smoke again” we have helped hundreds of people to quit smoking forever. Join our community now and enjoy the many benefits of a smokeless life!
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This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)