Absorption Distribution and Excretion of Nicotine

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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