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Article
May 27, 1933

NICOTINE POISONING BY ABSORPTION THROUGH THE SKIN

Author Affiliations

BOSTON
From the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Second and Fourth medical services (Harvard) of the Boston City Hospital and the Department of Medicine of the Harvard Medical School.

JAMA. 1933;100(21):1664-1665. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740210012005
Abstract

Nicotine is one of the most deadly poisons known to man and, at the same time, one with which he comes into most intimate contact in his daily life. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that serious cases of nicotine poisoning are not reported more frequently. The main reasons for the infrequency of serious poisoning are that the percentage of nicotine in tobacco is too small to make it easy to get a fatal dose from the ingestion of tobacco or the inhalation of its smoke, and that nausea and vomiting are early symptoms which ordinarily prevent further absorption of the drug. Fatal poisoning from tobacco, although rare, has been reported from smoking, from swallowing tobacco, from tobacco enemas, and from its use as a local application to the skin in favus.1 The commercial insecticides that contain high percentages of nicotine are, of course, far more dangerous. McNally2 has

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