They say a drop of nicotine kills a horse, and tears a hamster to shreds;) This folk wisdom is not far from the truth. A drop of nicotine is a horse dose of poison in the truest sense of the word. Nicotine is extremely toxic to insects and warm-blooded animals.
It acts as a neurotoxin, causing paralysis of the nervous system (respiratory arrest, cessation of cardiac activity, death). The average lethal dose is 0.5-1 mg / kg, which for an adult means about about a pack of strong cigarettes smoked at a time. For comparison: in potassium cyanide, this indicator is only three times higher (1.7 mg / kg). A drop of nicotine is about 1000 mg, which, in terms of a lethal dose, will be enough to kill a ton of carcasses.
Repeated use of nicotine causes physical and mental addictions, which, however, are curable. Interestingly, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have an increased addiction to smoking. Once nicotine enters the body, it quickly spreads through the bloodstream and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
On average, 7 seconds after inhaling tobacco smoke is enough for nicotine to reach the brain. The half-life of nicotine from the body is about two hours. Nicotine, inhaled with tobacco smoke when smoked, accounts for a small fraction of the nicotine found in tobacco leaves (most of the substance burns out). The amount of nicotine absorbed by the body when smoking depends on many factors, including the type of tobacco, whether all the smoke is inhaled, and whether a filter is being used.
In the case of chewing and snuff, which are placed in the mouth and chewed or inhaled through the nose, the amount of nicotine that enters the body is much greater than when tobacco is smoked.
At the beginning of the 20th century, nicotine was the main insecticide used for plant protection. For these purposes, nicotine was used in the form of a pure substance, its sulfate, tobacco dust, and the highest activity was possessed by a pure substance, which was also toxic to mammals.