Korean J Leg Med.  2014 Nov;38(4):167-170. 10.7580/kjlm.2014.38.4.167.

Suicidal Death by Nicotine Poisoning

  • 1Department of Pathology, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Forensic Medicine, Seoul Clinic of Korea Forensic Investigation, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Medical Examiner's Office, National Forensic Service, Wonju, Korea. zzeva@korea.kr


Nicotine is a water-soluble alkaloid extracted from tobacco plants, and most frequently encountered in snuff, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco or in a limited number of pesticides. Nicotine overdose or poisoning might be serious or fatal and lead to death; caused by cardiovascular arrest, respiratory muscle paralysis, and/or central respiratory failure due to its toxic effect. Suicide by nicotine ingestion has been rarely reported due to emetic response. We present a case of suicidal nicotine poisoning. A 56-year-old man was found dead and the postmortem examination revealed no injury or disease. We confirmed a high concentration of nicotine in the toxicological test. Through scene investigation, we determined this case as a suicidal nicotine poisoning.


Nicotine; Suicide; Poisoning
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