The Toxic Dose of Nicotine: Shattering the Myth. The very first port of call in any discussion such as this is to address a long-standing myth. To this day, many high-profile sources list the toxic dose of nicotine (the LD50 – or the dose that will kill about half of individuals exposed) as between 30 and 60 mg.
To place this in context of Vapor Cigarette, this is about 4 ml of 12 mg/ml e-liquid. Your system does process nicotine quite quickly (your blood nicotine levels will decrease by about 50 % after 2 hours), so you’d need to consume everything basically in one go, that makes it still a significant tall order.
However, research by Bernd Mayer has demonstrated this value for that toxic dose is completely indefensible. Within the paper, he details several cases where people consumed larger quantities of nicotine with only minimal symptoms. On the top of this, the lowest quantity of nicotine based in the blood of people who died from nicotine was about 20 times more than existing guidelines. Mayer revises the LD50 of nicotine to an estimated 500 to 1000 mg (or .5 to 1 g) on the basis of these results.
The remaining question is where did the “30 to 60 mg of nicotine will kill you” claim come from? Mayer followed “circular and frequently misleading references” for some time and in the end hit on the source: a 1906 textbook from a German toxicologist.
On this basis alone, it’s clear that we now have probably some difficulties with trusting this being a source. He was a respected toxicologist at the time, but medical knowledge has advanced massively in the century as it was published, so it isn’t surprising that repeating this claim verbatim with no further analysis isn’t the best idea.
The textbook cited some self-experiments performed within the nineteenth century, by which experimenters had the equivalent of some cigarettes’ worth of nicotine and reported seizures and loss of consciousness. It is without proclaiming that there was probably some error in measuring out your dose: otherwise chain-smokers would regularly lose consciousness and possess seizures.
Signs You’ve Had Excessive Nicotine. Vapers aren’t prone to suffer nicotine poisoning, only one thing that’s not unusual is having a tad too much nicotine in one sitting. The biggest tell-tale sign you’ve reached this aspect is feeling nauseous. You may notice this right at the end of the long vaping session, and it’s effectively your body telling you to take a rest from vaping for a while.
Inside my experience, this nausea increases gradually, but it’s better to just take a break when you notice it starting. By doing this it never becomes too unpleasant, and also you won’t experience the most significant other initial symptom: vomiting. This isn’t hard to avoid at all, and a lot vapers may have a break at the first indication of nausea even without getting advised to do this. You could also get yourself a headache if you’ve overdone it a bit, but nausea will be the easiest thing to watch out for.
It’s unlikely you’ll actually get to this stage by vaping, but it’s worth knowing a few things to consider. Probably the most serious nicotine poisoning symptoms are even less very likely to occur when you’re vaping, however are worth mentioning anyway. Included in this are coma and seizures (like our 19th century experimenters experienced), slowed heart rate and in the worst cases, respiratory failure. It might not be as poisonous as many sources claim, however it is really still poisonous.
Can You Get Nicotine Poisoning by Vaping? For vapers, the most important question for you is whether this is really something to worry about in practice. Would you vape your path to your nicotine overdose? Could you end up with any of the more serious symptoms of nicotine poisoning?
The simplest way to think about this (and to get a straightforward answer!) is to work through exactly how much e-juice you’d actually have to vaporize in the space of a couple of hours hitting the minimum toxic dose of about 500 mg.
Employing a 12 mg/ml e-juice, you’d must vaporize over 40 ml to approach 500 mg of nicotine vaporised. Realistically, this just isn’t going to happen. For an 18 mg/ml e-liquid, you’d still have to vape almost 28 ml of e-juice in a handful of hours to actually have a chance.
This is actually only the initial step, though, and also the nicotine would need to go into the vapour and be absorbed by the body before it might poison you.
Estimating this aspect is a bit tough, but a report from Dr. Farsalinos checked out experienced vapers’ plasma nicotine levels after utilizing a mod and an 18 mg/ml e-liquid. The analysis didn’t utilize a modern device, but to answer the real key question here it’s more than sufficient. The participants vaped 10 puffs in a few minutes, then had an hour or so to djurpj the unit however much they liked.
After a few minutes, experienced vapers wound up with about 8 nanograms (billionths of the gram) of nicotine per ml of blood. Right after the full 65 minutes, vapers plasma nicotine levels rose to 24.1 ng/ml, although the highest recorded concentration was 48.1 ng/ml.
In Bernd Mayer’s paper, he highlights that this minimum plasma concentration recorded from a person who died from nicotine overdose was 4,000 ng/ml (similar to 4 mg per liter).
Based on the vaper who got the highest plasma nicotine levels, their blood nicotine level would need to be over 80 times higher to reach the minimum lethal dose. To pile on yet more implausibility, they’d have to achieve this in under two hours. Quite simply, they’d have to get about 80 times more nicotine within their blood in under twice the amount of time.
This should clearly show that vapers really can’t overdose on nicotine by using their e-cigarettes as intended. It seems like unlikely that it’d be also physically possible to inhale as much vapour as you’d need to.