Medical Uses and Research

  • Nicotine is used to treat nicotine dependence and help people quit smoking.
  • Controlled levels of nicotine are given through gums, patches, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal sprays.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) increases the chances of successfully quitting smoking by 50-60%.
  • Combining nicotine patch use with faster-acting NRTs improves treatment success.
  • Nicotine is being researched for potential benefits in treating Parkinson's disease, dementia, ADHD, depression, and sarcoma.


  • Nicotine has been used as an insecticide since the 1960s.
  • Nicotine pesticides have been banned in the EU since 2009.
  • Neonicotinoids, derived from nicotine, are widely used as agricultural and veterinary pesticides.
  • Homemade nicotine pesticides are banned on organic crops.
  • Imported foods must not exceed maximum nicotine levels.

Performance Enhancement

  • Nicotine can enhance cognitive performance.
  • It has positive effects on fine motor abilities, attention, memory, and alertness.
  • Stimulation of the α4β2 nicotinic receptor is responsible for these improvements.
  • Nicotine has potential beneficial effects but also paradoxical effects.
  • The dose-response curve and pharmacokinetics may explain these effects.

Recreational Use

  • Nicotine is a widely used and highly addictive recreational drug.
  • Dependence can develop within days of use.
  • Nicotine is used compulsively for its mood-altering effects.
  • Recreational nicotine products include cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, snuff, and nicotine pouches.
  • Nicotine-infused alcohol is called nicotini.

Contraindications and Adverse Effects

  • Nicotine use for tobacco cessation has few contraindications.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy is not recommended for adolescents.
  • Nicotine is not safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, although it is safer than smoking.
  • Nicotine products may be contraindicated during cancer treatment due to potential tumor growth promotion.
  • Temporary use of NRTs to quit smoking may be advised for harm reduction in cancer patients.
  • Common adverse events related to nicotine replacement therapy include headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, gastro-intestinal symptoms, and sleep/dream problems.
  • Palpitations and chest pain are rare and not associated with an increased risk of serious cardiac problems.
  • Serious adverse events from nicotine replacement therapy are extremely rare.

Nicotine Mentions

Nicotine Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph