Nicotine is a poison that can cause health problems in excessive amounts. Cancer, cardiovascular disorders and chronic bronchitis are just some of the long-term consequences of smoking. These usually develop very slowly, which is why smokers often do not notice the health consequences immediately.
The amount ingested when smoking is usually not high enough to cause life-threatening poisoning. But what happens if nicotine-containing products are accidentally swallowed? What are the symptoms of nicotine poisoning and what is the risk?
In this article, we want to tell you more about nicotine poisoning and introduce you to a few alternatives to cigarettes.
What is nicotine poisoning?
Nicotine poisoning is often caused by swallowing cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco. Other products such as cigars, snuff or chewing tobacco, nicotine chewing gum or patches for cessation can also lead to a so-called nicotine shock, but the risk is rather low.
What amount of nicotine is dangerous?
Clearly, the question of the lethal amount of nicotine has not yet been answered by research. It is generally believed that 300 to 600 mg of nicotine can be fatal. On average, a cigarette contains about two milligrams of nicotine. So, to ingest a lethal dose, over 200 cigarettes would have to be ingested. In the case of e-cigarettes, this means that 8 ml of 6 mg/ml of e-liquid would have to be consumed.
Whether the dose is lethal or not also depends on body weight and where the nicotine comes from. You should therefore be particularly careful with children or pets so that no nicotine-containing products can be swallowed.
Nicotine poisoning from smoking alone is uncommon because the body can process nicotine quickly. After just two hours, the nicotine level in the blood is halved. For a lethal dose, more than 200 cigarettes would have to be consumed at once.
What is the difference between acute and chronic nicotine poisoning?
In acute nicotine poisoning, the nicotine-containing product is swallowed. In this way, a particularly large amount of nicotine is absorbed at once.
In comparison, chronic nicotine poisoning lasts for many years and initially goes unnoticed. Chronic intoxication is often developed by heavy and long-term smokers. Symptoms of chronic nicotine poisoning is damage to the vascular and nervous systems, as well as organs. To avoid chronic nicotine poisoning, there is only one way: quit smoking with the .
What are the symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning?
Nicotine poisoning occurs in two phases. The first stage is characterized by a feeling of malaise and nausea. In addition, it can cause blood pressure to rise and you may feel a racing heart. Symptoms may vary from person to person and depend on the amount taken. Other symptoms include confusion, panic, increased salivation, and shortness of breath.
In the second phase, the body breaks down the nicotine and you begin to calm down. The blood pressure and heartbeat go down again. In some cases, depression appears as a symptom, in addition, those affected feel exhausted and breathing flattens out. In addition, a feeling of weakness sets in and diarrhea is also a common consequence.
What is nicotine shock?
A nicotine shock or nicotine flash can occur when there is an overload of nicotine action in the brain. This is more common with e-cigarettes, as they have a higher nicotine strength. Symptoms include nausea, sweating, tremors, fatigue, vomiting, and intestinal cramps. The likelihood of nicotine shock is higher than that of nicotine poisoning.
What to do in case of an overdose?
Even with a slight overdose, the body sends signals. If symptoms such as headaches or nausea occur, you should definitely take a break and not consume nicotine.
How dangerous is swallowing snus?
Since snus does not have a combustion process, it is considered less dangerous than cigarettes. There is not much danger in accidentally swallowing snus, because the amounts of dangerous ingredients are lower than in cigarettes. To cause nicotine poisoning, several sachets would have to be swallowed in a very short time.
Even if snus does not pose a great danger, it should still not be swallowed, because it can also cause an upset stomach. Snus is available with different levels of nicotine: EDEL Onyx , for example, has a high content of 45 mg/g. VELO Freeze X-Strong has a nicotine content of 22 mg/g. Edel CBD Mint contains no nicotine at all and is a very good alternative to smoking.