Nicotine as Class A Poison | 20 Aug 2019

Karnataka has amended Poisons (Possessions and Sale) Rules 2015 by notifying nicotine as Class A poison.

  • The move aims at strengthening the enforcement of the ban on production and sale of electronic cigarettes.


  • In August 2018, the Union Health Ministry had instructed all the States to put a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) under their jurisdiction.
  • Though Karnataka had banned the sale and production of e-cigarettes in June 2016, but illegal sale and smuggling of nicotine cartridges and e-cigarettes is rampant in the State.


  • Nicotine is a plant alkaloid that contains nitrogen, which is found in several types of plants, including the tobacco plant and can also be produced synthetically.
  • Nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant.
  • Nicotine is used as a direct substance in e-cigarettes and the content ranges up to 36 mg/mL. Although regular cigarettes too have nicotine, but it ranges between 1.2 to 1.4 mg/mL.
  • Chewing or snorting tobacco products usually releases more nicotine into the body than smoking.

Harmful Effect of Nicotine

  • Nicotine on direct application in humans causes irritation and burning sensation in the mouth and throat, increased salivation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • It also increases pulse rate and blood pressure.

Classification of Poison

US Department of Transport divides poisons in two classes

  • Class-A: Highly toxic chemicals which even in very small quantities as gas or vapor in air are dangerous to life such as cyanogen, hydrocyanic acid, nitrogen peroxide, and phosgene.
  • Class-B: Chemicals other than those included in Class-A and comparatively less toxic but considered dangerous.

Source: The Hindu