What is nicotine?

Nicotine is certainly a familiar term to everyone, which is usually associated with tobacco. But what exactly is nicotine and what is the effect of nicotine on the human body?

Europeans and especially people in Nordics are tough on using nicotine products – there are tobacco, snuff, nicotine pouches and a lot of other nicotine products on the market. It is estimated that at least one in five in Nordics uses some kind of nicotine products.

But what is nicotine and how does it affect the human body? How quickly does nicotine leave the body and what does nicotine do to a person? Does nicotine show up in the blood?

These are all questions that are sure to bother people who use nicotine or are considering using it. Don’t worry, because you can find the answers to all the above-mentioned questions by reading the article we prepared below about what nicotine is.

What is nicotine

Nicotine is a colorless, odorless and tasteless liquid obtained from the tobacco plant. It is classified as an intoxicant, but it is also a type of poison. It is a chemical that is mainly used in tobacco products or products that replace them.

Nicotine is an addictive substance that has a stimulant and brain stimulating effect. The biggest nicotine effect is the feeling of energy and pleasure right after use.

Nicotine is a poison, but its toxicity depends on the size of the ingested dose. What nicotine does in the human body also depends on the amount of nicotine – side effects are rare with small doses.

Nicotine pouches have been difficult to classify into certain categories. From the point of view of legislation, they have been treated as medicinal products, tobacco products and chemicals. Nicotine is one of the most used medicinal substances in Finland, so there is a lot of demand for it.

Nicotine is:

  • Highly addictive
  • Colorless, odorless and tasteless
  • A chemical used as a medicinal product
  • Intoxicant
  • Toxic in large quantities

Nicotine use

The effect of nicotine begins practically as soon as a dose is taken. Nicotine is most commonly used in the form of cigarettes or snuff.

Nowadays, the popular nicotine pouches, which work like snuff without the harmful chemicals of tobacco, have joined the ranks.

Nicotine is widely used as a self-medication when the goal is to stop smoking. Nicotine bags are mostly used as replacement products, but other products are also widely available in shops. These include, for example, nicotine tins and patches.

How much nicotine is in tobacco or snuff

How much nicotine is in tobacco or snuff depends of course on the tobacco product. There are both milder and stronger cigarettes on the market, with slightly different amounts of nicotine.

On average, there is less than 12 mg of nicotine per cigarette. Milder cigarettes contain about 8 mg of nicotine, while the strongest ones contain more than 20 mg of nicotine.

However, that amount of nicotine does not directly pass into the human body and blood stream as it is, but only a small part of it passes through – about a couple of milligrams.

How much nicotine is in one cigarette depends on the brand of cigarettes you choose. In general, red cigarette packs contain more nicotine than blue cigarette packs, but you should always check the amount of nicotine on the package before buying cigarettes.

Snuff can contain up to 40 mg of nicotine per sachet. The Finns’ favorite Odens Cold Dry or Denssi contains, for example, 22 mg of nicotine, but there are also milder versions of Denssi.

Amount of nicotine in nicotine pouches

Most of the nicotine pouches are mild pouches containing 4 mg of nicotine. However, there are plenty of stronger nicotine pouches available on the market.

In Europe is mostly allowed to sell any strong of nicotine pouches, but is presumable that governments will adjust the limit of nicotine to appromixately 20mg per pouch.

However, many users of nicotine pouches gradually switch to milder nicotine patches if the goal is to get rid of nicotine addiction.

How nicotine works

Nicotine is absorbed into the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and lungs. Through that, it is transported into the bloodstream, from where it goes on to the brain. Nicotine can also enter the human body through the digestive tract or skin.

Nicotine causes a rush of dopamine in the brain, which is why its use causes pleasure and cheers up. For this reason, it is a substance that also causes addictions easily. On the other hand, many people who use nicotine find it calming, so the effects of nicotine are partly individual.

Negative side effects of heavy nicotine use include, for example, irritation of the mouth area, sore throat and increased salivation. These are typical symptoms of people who use a lot of snuff or nicotine pouches.

Nicotine can also cause irritation and adverse effects when it comes into contact with the skin or eyes.

Nicotine’s effect is also often individual and depends on the amount of nicotine dose consumed. Some people are more sensitive to addictions than others, and not everyone gets, for example, equally strong withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine blood pressure

Nicotine use affects blood pressure. Nicotine has a vasoconstrictor effect – the heart rate increases, which increases blood pressure. Nicotine use often worsens heart symptoms and can cause, for example, arrhythmias when blood pressure rises.

The use of nicotine is not recommended for people who are taking blood pressure medication, as nicotine can interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medication. Heavy nicotine use has also been found to be associated with an increase in blood vessel blockages.

The effect of nicotine on blood pressure is always individual. However, it can be stated that using nicotine increases blood pressure by 5–10 mmHg and even one dose of nicotine causes an increase in blood pressure.

Is nicotine dangerous?

Small amounts of nicotine are not dangerous for an adult. However, in large doses it can cause nicotine poisoning or even death.

In an adult, this is very rare, but possible if large amounts are used or accidentally swallowed. About 60 mg of nicotine swallowed can be fatal for an adult.

For small children and pets, nicotine is always dangerous – even in small concentrations – so the possibility of nicotine poisoning is high and even death is possible.

If a person shows serious symptoms of nicotine poisoning, it is necessary to contact the poisoning information center and contact a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning are, for example:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Convulsions
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Perspiration
  • Chills

How quickly nicotine leaves the body

Nicotine is completely eliminated from the body within about two days and the half-life is about 8 hours. Nicotine in the blood decreases very soon after you stop using nicotine products.

And does nicotine show up in the blood test? The answer is that it can be seen, but not for very long. Nicotine starts to disappear from the blood after a couple of hours.

Nicotine is best seen in a urine test, where the use of nicotine can be seen even after several days.

Simply put, after stopping nicotine products, the effects begin immediately. Withdrawal symptoms can start within a couple of hours of stopping, but this is very individual and varies according to the strength of the addiction.

Get rid of addiction

Nicotine is highly addictive. Many users are addicted specifically to tobacco products that contain nicotine, such as tobacco or snuff. Quitting smoking is difficult, but not impossible.

It is possible to get rid of addiction, but it takes time and patience. Nicotine addiction brings with it withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to get rid of the addiction.

For this reason, there are a large number of nicotine products on the market, with which the amount of nicotine can be reduced gradually and quitting does not seem so challenging all at once. These include, for example, nicotine tins, sprays and patches. Nicotine bags are also commonly used for weaning off tobacco products.

It is completely possible to get rid of addiction, but you have to remember to be kind to yourself. It doesn’t have to happen instantly, because addiction treatment is always difficult.

Withdrawal symptoms of nicotine addiction:

  • Agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Fluctuating moods
  • Perspiration
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased appetite


Nicotine is a chemical obtained from the tobacco plant that can be classified as an intoxicant. It is also a poison that can even cause nicotine poisoning in large doses.

It is a highly addictive substance that has a stimulating and invigorating effect on the brain. It can be difficult to get rid of addiction, because giving up nicotine also causes withdrawal symptoms.

The most common way to consume nicotine is by smoking cigarettes. Snuffing and the use of nicotine pouches are also common. In addition to these, there are various nicotine preparations, from patches to sprays and chewing gum.

How much nicotine is in a cigarette depends on the brand of cigarette. On average, tobacco contains about 12 mg of nicotine per cigarette, but not all of this is absorbed into the body when smoking.

Strong snuff can contain up to 40 mg of nicotine. The most common nicotine pouches contain 4 mg of nicotine, but in Finland it is allowed to buy and sell all nicotine pouches containing less than 20 mg of nicotine.

The effects of quitting nicotine begin to show very soon, and withdrawal symptoms often begin within hours. Nicotine in the blood evaporates quite soon, but nicotine stays in the body for a few days.

What is nicotine – FAQ

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is an odorless and tasteless liquid obtained from the tobacco plant, which is used as an intoxicant. It is a chemical that causes pleasure and addiction.

Does nicotine show up in blood tests?

Nicotine shows up in blood tests for a while. It’s about hours, but the nicotine is only removed from the body within a couple of days.

Is nicotine dangerous?

In small amounts, nicotine is not dangerous for an adult. For children and pets, even a small amount can be life-threatening. Nicotine can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be a life-threatening condition.

How does nicotine work?

Nicotine works in the brain so that it releases dopamine and cheers you up. It causes a feeling of pleasure, which is why it is easily addictive.

How much nicotine is in a cigarette?

The amount of nicotine depends on the cigarette, but on average one cigarette contains 12 mg of nicotine. At its lowest, the amount is 8 mg, and strong cigarettes can contain even more than 20 mg of nicotine. However, all of this does not directly enter the body or the bloodstream.

What is the best nicotine preparation for quitting smoking?

There are many nicotine products on the market, of which nicotine pouches are particularly popular. Nicotine tins, patches or sprays are also viable options.