Nicotine is well absorbed from the mucous membranes in the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system. If tobacco smoke is held in the mouth for 2 seconds, 66 to 77% of the nicotine in the smoke will be absorbed across the oral mucosa. If tobacco smoke is inhaled, approximately 90 to 98% of the nicotine will be absorbed. Nicotine is distributed throughout the body, readily crossing the blood-brain and placental barriers. The liver, kidney, and lung metabolize approximately 80 to 90% of the alkaloid. The kidney rapidly eliminates nicotine and its metabolites.
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