A very toxic poison
that is virtually tasteless
and without color
Prior to the last ten years, liquid nicotine has seen very little use outside of the lab and the occasional pesticide. More recently, with anti-smoking products that use liquid nicotine to replace the inhaled variety, acute cases of nicotine poisoning both intentional and unintentional have arrisen.
Those who know their Truman Capote will remember that liquid nicotine plays the role of murder weapon in his nonfiction novella Handcarved Coffins. But that was an exceptional rarity then, since it has become a common household product these days numerous instances of the substance being utilized to that end have cropped up - including the suicide of a Phillip Morris researcher on June 6, 2000.
The first decision to use liquid nicotine in a market fashion came from Dr. Frank Etscorn who invented and patented the nicotine patch which hit stores in 1992. Follow-up products that also utilized liquid nicotine include nicotine gum, an inhaler which looks identical to the type seen for asthma sufferers, a nasal spray, and most recently a simple vial of a solution that is approximately one third liquid nicotine. Included with the product is an eye dropper to gage the correct dosage for human consumption.
Now... does this seem like a good idea to anyone?
According to the National Capital Poison Center, the lethal dosage of nicotine in the human body is 40-60mg, although mild signs of poisoning can show up after consuming as little as 5mg. Your average cigarette when smoked introduces approximately 1mg of nicotine into the body - although were you to eat them it would be a greater amount... And since nicotine leaves the body in a relatively rapid fashion, cigarettes themselves are not a real canidate for nicotine poisoning unless you're smoking several at a time or putting them on your pizza.
The nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays each contain 100mg of liquid nicotine. Enough to put two humans and possibly a dog six feet under. However - both dish out the nicotine in a fine mist, 0.5mg at a time... and since the containers are sealed tightly it would require intent to make these two products useful as a weapon. And if a person has intent already - nothing is really going to stop them. And so this also doesn't worry me all that much.
But handing out 100mg vials of 33% pure liquid nicotine straight over the counter with nothing save an eye-dropper in the way someone chugging the whole thing? Or spilling it...? Nicotine is rapidly absorbed through the skin with immediate poisoning effects. Hell - that's how the patch was invented. Further, a large enough dose of liquid nicotine into an open wound can be fatal in seconds.
And ohhh, it is a lovely way to die all the sources say... confusion, nausea, loss of bowel control and vomiting followed by seizures, coma, and respiratory arrest. Yummy.
Even more delightful - it isn't found in a serum toxicology screen and results from a urine toxicology screen are rarely conclusive since any smoker or person who spends time around smokers is likely to have trace quantities of nicotine in their urine.
So... forget your bullets and your rat-poison and your knives and all your other tools of mass destruction... there's no need for em. The anti-smoking industry is going to provide you with your own new and improved killing machine - because it's important to stop people from damaging their health through their own conscious choice.