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Nicotine Dosage
by Erowid

Nicotine is the primary psychoactive constituent of tobacco. It is found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and rolling tobacco, as well as in nicotine patches, gum, inhalers, and nasal spray.

It is important to note that nicotine-product users moderate their use of the products to adjust the level of their effects: smokers can hold the smoke for a shorter duration, let the cigarette burn longer between inhalations, not smoke an entire cigarette, or other similar techniques to make small adjustments to the dose of nicotine received from smoking.

Smoked Nicotine Dosages
Threshold0.2 - 0.3 mg
Light0.3 - 0.8 mg
Common0.6 - 1.5 mg
Strong1 - 2 mg
Heavy2 - 4 mg

Onset : 5 - 60 seconds
Duration : 10 - 30 minutes
Normal After Effects : 1 - 3 hours

Oral Nicotine Dosages
Light.5 - 2 mg
Common1 - 4 mg
Strong2 - 6 mg

Onset : 2 - 15 minutes
Duration : 1 - 2 hours
Normal After Effects : 3 - 6 hours

Intranasal (Nasal Spray) Nicotine Dosages
Threshold0.2 - 0.3 mg
Light0.3 - 1.0 mg
Common0.8 - 2.0 mg
Strong1.5 - 4 mg
Heavy3 - 8 mg

Onset : 20 - 90 seconds
Duration : 10 - 30 minutes
Normal After Effects : 1 - 3 hours

Smoked cigarettes deliver widely varying amounts of nicotine depending mainly on the specific product and how they are smoked. There are differing standards for how to determine the "nicotine yield" from a smoked cigarette. The Massachusetts state government method for testing nicotine yield results in much higher reported doses: "the average from using the historical method was 0.90 mg/cigarette while the average from the Massachusetts method was 1.89 mg/cigarette." (Change in Nicotine Yields 1998-2004, MDPH).

The older method for testing cigarette nicotine yield showed nicotine dosages per cigarette in the .13 to 2.0 mg range, but the Massachusetts method shows nicotine yields between 1 mg and 3 mg. Actual nicotine delivery to a human can be and has been validated by testing urine of cigarette smokers, but this is a costly and time consuming procedure and is not used for determining nicotine yields for the available cigarette brands.

Research actually looking at the blood plasma of Cigarette smokers has shown that up to 3.0 mg of nicotine may be received from a single cigarette. (Benowitz 1998)

See The Nicotine and Tar content of 25 cigarette brands for a list of individual nicotine contents.

Sold in 2.0 and 4.0 mg per piece of gum. In a 4.0 mg piece, 3.4 - 4.0 mg is considered bio-available (According to Physicians Desk Reference)

Transdermal patches are sold designed to deliver nicotine slowly over 24 hours, with 21 mg, 14 mg, and 7 mg per patch, deliving around .88 mg, .58 mg, and .29 mg per hour for 24 hours. Some users and some researchers apply more than one patch at a time to achieve stronger effects. (Benowitz 1998)

  1. Perkins K, Fonte C, Sanders M, et al. "Threshold doses for nicotine discrimination in smokers and non-smokers". Psychopharmacology. May 2001; 155(2):163-70. [ Abstract ]
  2. Scherer G, von Maltzan C, von Meyerinck L, Westphal K, Adlkofer F. "Biomonitoring after controlled exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)". Exp Pathol. 1989;37(1-4):158-63. [ Abstract ]
  3. Physicians Desk Reference (PDR). 2000. [ Erowid Library ]
  4. CHANGE IN NICOTINE YIELDS 1998 - 2004, Massachusetts Department of Public Health). [ Full Text ]
  5. More Nicotine Madness, Jack Shafer,, Jan 2007
  6. InChem Nicotine Summary
  7. Benowitz NL, Zevin S, Jacob P 3rd. "Suppression of nicotine intake during ad libitum cigarette smoking by high-dose transdermal nicotine". J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1998;287(3):958-62. [Abstract ]
Every individual reacts differently to every chemical.
Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Erowid's dosage information is a summary of data gathered from users, research, and other
resources and should not be construed as recommendations. Individuals can respond
differently to the same dosage. What is safe for one can be deadly for another.

Start low with new substances.
Have trusted companion/guide/sitter/friend present and/or available.