Nicotine, one of the more than 4700 ingredients in tobacco smoke, is a neurotoxin and once used as pesticides in agriculture. Although its use in agriculture is prohibited in many countries, nicotine intoxication is still a problem among the workers in tobacco farms, and young children as well as adults due to the accidental or suicidal ingestions of nicotine products. Understanding the mechanism of nicotine intoxication is important not only for the prevention and treatment but also for the appropriate regulatory approaches. Here, we review pharmacokinetics of nicotine and the molecular mechanisms for acute and chronic intoxication from nicotine that might be relevant to the central and the peripheral nervous system. We include green tobacco sickness, acute intoxication from popular nicotine products, circadian rhythm changes, chronic intoxication from nicotine through prenatal nicotine exposure, newborn behaviors, and sudden infant death syndrome.
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