Nicotine safety

nicotine safety

IMPORTANT: Nicotine in liquid form is a known poison. It can be absorbed in liquid form through ingestion (swallowing), or through contact with skin. It is very important to be very careful in the storage and use of e-liquid with your e-cigarette. Please review our E-cigarette safety area for advice on storing and using your e-liquid.

Nicotine (C10H14N2) is a naturally occurring liquid alkaloid. An alkaloid is an organic compound made out of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes oxygen. These chemicals have potent effects on the human body. For example, many people regularly enjoy the stimulating effects of another alkaloid, caffeine, as they quaff a cup or two of coffee in the morning. Nicotine can be absorbed into your body through the skin, the lungs, and mucus membranes. During inhalation, your lungs are lined by millions of alveoli, the tiny air sacs where gas exchange occurs. These alveoli provide an enormous surface area — 90 times greater than that of your skin — and thus provide ample access for nicotine and other compounds. Once in your bloodstream, nicotine flows almost immediately to your brain. Citation

Long term effects of inhaled nicotine:

Nicotine itself is often given a bad reputation, as it is forever linked with the other evil parts of a traditional tobacco cigarette. The truth is that there is no current scientific evidence that nicotine is a cancer causing agent. Here are a few studies regarding nicotine and its health risks

Long-term effects of inhaled nicotine: by Waldum HL, Nilsen OG, Nilsen T, Rorvik H, Syversen V, Sanvik AK, Haugen OA, Torp SH, Brenna E. — Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Tronheim, Norway. Citation

Tobacco smoking has been reported to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly of the lungs. In spite of extensive research on the health effects of tobacco smoking, the substances in tobacco smoke exerting these negative health effects are not completely known. Nicotine is the substance giving the subjective pleasure of smoking as well as inducing addiction. For the first time we report the effect on the rat of long-term (two years) inhalation of nicotine. The rats breathed in a chamber with nicotine at a concentration giving twice the plasma concentration found in heavy smokers. Nicotine was given for 20 h a day, five days a week during a two-year period. We could not find any increase in mortality, in atherosclerosis or frequency of tumors in these rats compared with controls. Particularly, there was no microscopic or macroscopic lung tumors nor any increase in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells. Throughout the study, however, the body weight of the nicotine exposed rats was reduced as compared with controls. In conclusion, our study does not indicate any harmful effect of nicotine when given in its pure form by inhalation

Benefits of Nicotine Studies

There have been a number of studies on nicotine and their use in helping some illnesses. There have been, to date, no scientific evidence supporting these thesis’s, but research is ongoing.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease – The first neurons lost to Alzheimers are cholinergic neurons in a specific region of the brain. Nicotine may improve the function of the neurons that are left and slow the onset of symptoms.
  • Tourette’s Syndrome – This disease produces tics (uncontrolled movements of the head, hands and other body parts) and violent urges in its sufferers. Nicotine patches that slowly deliver nicotine through the skin can reduce symptoms of people with Tourette’s.

General Side effects of inhaled nicotine


Side Effects

The side effects for inhaling nicotine through an e-cigarette are very similar to those when using nicotine inhalers. Here are the noted possible side effects, listed in more common and less common: Citation

More common

  • coughing
  • indigestion
  • mouth and throat irritation
  • stuffy nose
  • headache
  • stomach discomfort
  • nausea
Less common

  • anxiety
  • back pain
  • change in taste sensations
  • chest pain
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • feeling of burning, numbness, tightness, tingling, warmth, or heat
  • feelings of drug dependence
  • flu-like symptoms
  • general pain
  • hiccups
  • pain in jaw and neck
  • pain in muscles
  • passing of gas
  • problems with teeth
  • thirst
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Note: providing you are moving from traditional tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, your body will already be adjusted to nicotine intake. You will simply be changing the delivery system of that nicotine from tobacco cigarettes to an electronic cigarette.

Nicotine Poisoning

IMPORTANT: Nicotine is a known toxin, both ingested and absorbed. It is very important as an e-smoker to be aware of the dangers of e-liquid that contains nicotine. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include:

  • Headache, dizziness, confusion, agitation, restlessness, lethargy, seizures, and coma. Seizures may be rapid in onset.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure), tachycardia (rapid heart rate), and tachypnea (rapid respirations), followed by hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (slow heart rate), and respiratory depression.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias may also occur.
  • Gastrointestinal effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or burning sensation, and diarrhea.
  • Increased salivation, lacrimation (tearing), and sweating may be noted.

In the event that an individual has ingested a large quantity of liquid nicotine, follow these steps:

  • Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.
  • DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING or attempt to neutralize!
  • Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.
  • Give the victims water or milk: children up to 1 year old, 125 mL (4 oz or 1/2 cup); children 1 to 12 years old, 200 mL (6 oz or 3/4 cup); adults, 250 mL (8 oz or 1 cup). Water or milk should be given only if victims are conscious and alert.
  • Activated charcoal may be administered if victims are conscious and alert. Use 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) for children, 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) for adults, with 125 to 250 mL (1/2 to 1 cup) of water.
  • Promote excretion by administering a saline cathartic or sorbitol to conscious and alert victims. Children require 15 to 30 g (1/2 to 1 oz) of cathartic; 50 to 100 g (1-3/4 to 3-1/2 oz) is recommended for adults.
  • RUSH to a health care facility.

Precautions and warnings for Nicotine:

  • Nicotine is not safe for pregnant women, or women who beleive they may be pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant.
  • All nicotine products must be kept out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Nicotine is highly addictive substance


This website is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.