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    Nicotine transfer chances through saliva

Posted on Fri, 8 Jun 2012 in General Health
Question: Can nicotine (or cotinine) be transferred to others through saliva? Would the recipient notice?
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 19 minutes later
Thanks for your query.

Nicotine can be delivered in body by oral route, inhalation and by trans dermal patch.

In person to person transfer: It is present in minor concentration in saliva which can be transferred to other person. Because of low concentration effect will be minimal or absent.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Ashish Mittal 2 hours later
Thank you Dr. Mittal for that answer. I would like to follow up.

To explain my question a bit further and more precisely: I am a smoker (I understand the serious health risks so please no lectures) . My new girlfriend claims she has experienced a "buzz" after lengthy passionate kissing. She believes it is the nicotine in my system and is apparently quite sensitive to it. She is not a smoker so I never smoke near her and I always drink liquids and use breath mints (to thoroughly clean my palate) before we kiss. She says she cannot taste or smell anything "smoky" when we kiss. Is she getting enough nicotine (actually, wouldn't that be cotinine in my system?) from only my saliva to cause her "sensation" or could it be more likely she is picking up tar and nicotine deposits directly from my lips,teeth and gums? I would like to know if thoroughly brushing my teeth and washing my lips would prevents this "transfer". Or is the fact that I am a moderate smoker and have nicotine/cotinine in my system all the time going to cause this problem regardless of any intensive measures I attempt at oral hygiene. The relationship quite possibly rides on this one. Thanks again.
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 15 hours later
Hello again,

Important aspects of your query are:
• New partner.
• Sensitive to nicotine as she report.
• Feeling of buzz after kissing.

Usually with very low nicotine concentration in saliva, these symptom should not occur or should stop after few days because of development of tolerance to nicotine. Apart from that you mentioned that she is sensitive for nicotine, in that case she may have buzz because of some minor allergic reaction. Anyway oral hygiene will definitely help.

This is only one explanation that her symptoms may be because of nicotine in saliva. As kissing or physical intimacy involve lots of emotional exertion, she may have buzz because of weakness.

Following measures will help you in this condition:
• Oral hygiene.
• Don’t use nicotine in any form for one day and then kiss her to confirm that cause of symptom is nicotine
• Have complete blood count, serum electrolytes and liver/kidney function test to rule out systemic causes of weakness
• Last but not the least: stop smoking, as she may have desire for this.

I hope this answers your query.

Wishing you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Jyoti Patil
Answered by
Dr. Ashish Mittal


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