Person holding nicotine pouch next to an open can - Nicotine Poisoning: What is it? - Nicokick

Nicotine Poisoning: What is it?



While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll overdose on nicotine, it’s still important to provide education around it. From symptoms to signs, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about nicotine poisoning, and how to avoid it.


What is Nicotine Poisoning?

So, what is nicotine and nicotine poisoning? To put it simply, nicotine poisoning refers to the toxic effects that happen when you have too much nicotine in your body. How much nicotine can cause nicotine poisoning depends on things like your weight, health and where the nicotine comes from. Nicotine poisoning can affect people of all ages, but those most at risk are children due to their smaller sizes and lower weight. Be sure to keep your nicotine products out of the reach of children, as they can become ill after eating just one cigarette or equivalent.

If you know what to look for and get quick and proper care when you experience it, you can make a full recovery without any long lasting effects. 


How Much Nicotine is Too Much Nicotine?


There is no exact number on how much is too much - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggtests that for an adult who is around 150 pounds, 50-60 milligrams is considered to be too much nicotine. However, other research has suggested that it requires a higher amount of nicotine to experience nicotine poisoning or a nicotine overdose.



Can You Overdose on Nicotine?


It is possible to overdose on nicotine, but overdosing from tobacco-free nicotine products (such as nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges) is highly unlikely. Your body only absorbs a portion of the nicotine in the product, but nicotine overdose is possible if you don't follow the instructions carefully!



Symptoms of Nicotine Poisoning (What Happens if You Have too Much Nicotine)


Nicotine poisoning usually happens in two stages. Symptoms typically last an hour or two after a mild overdose and up to 24 hours for severe poisoning.
Nicotine poisoning happens in two phases: early phase and late phase.
The early phase of nicotine poisoning takes place within 15 minutes to an hour and vomiting is the most common symptom. The late phase occurs within 30 minutes to four hours.

In the early phase (within 15 minutes to an hour), symptoms can include:

  • Feeling queasy or vomiting
  • Mouth watering
  • Paler skin that usual
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Increased blood pressure,
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy breathing
  • Muscle twitching

Symptoms in the late phase (within 30 minutes to four hours) can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slower heart rate
  • Tiredness/feeling weak
  • Poor muscle control

So, how long does a nicotine overdose last? If you have mild exposure (nicotine poisoning), symptoms last up to hours, However, if you have severe exposure (nicotine poisoning), symptoms can last up to 24 hours.


How to Treat Nicotine Poisoning


How you treat nicotine poisoning depends on how severe it is - but you should always seek medical attention. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 right away if you suspect nicotine poisoning or a nicotine overdose. 


Tips for How to Deal with Nicotine Poisoning


If you or someone around you is experience symptoms of nicotine overdose or you suspect you have nicotine poisoning, the best things you can do to help are:


  1. Call for medical attention and contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222
  2. Do not try throw up or make them throw up (also avoid giving them antacids to settle their stomach).
  3. Give them water to drink.
  4. Keep the airways clear and open.
  5. For nicotine poisoning, you should sit still while calling for help. 


How to Prevent Nicotine Poisoning


In order to avoid and prevent nicotine poisoning, here are some quick tips:

  • Always follow the product use instructions carefully.
  • Make sure to dispose of your nicotine pouches, gums, and lozenges properly (in the can storage or in a sealed trash can). Cigarettes should never be thrown on the floor, make sure you dispose of them properly too.
  • Always keep nicotine products away from kids.
  • Store your products properly when you aren’t using them and seal containers properly.
  • Add the Poison Control Center's help line number (800-222-1222) to your phone contacts and have it posted around your home in case of emergency. This phone line will connect you to your local center all across the U.S.