Nicotine

Why am I being warned about potential exposure to nicotine?

  • Nicotine is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.
  • Exposure to nicotine during pregnancy may affect the baby’s development.
  • Proposition 65 requires businesses to determine if they must provide a warning about exposure to listed chemicals.

What is nicotine?

  • Nicotine is an addictive chemical compound that is formed naturally in tobacco and some other plants. It is used in a wide variety of tobacco products, and some pharmaceuticals.
  • Nicotine can be found in:
    • Cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, hand-rolled cigarettes (such as bidis) and clove cigarettes (kreteks).
    • Tobacco smoke.
    • Chewing tobacco, snuff, and tobacco products that are dissolved in the mouth (such as orbs, sticks, strips, and lozenges).
    • Electronic or e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, and other vaping devices, and refills for these devices (known as e-liquids, e-juice or vape juice).
    • Vapor from vaping devices.
    • Many nicotine-replacement products designed to help quit tobacco use (such as patches, gels, inhalers, gum, lozenges and sprays).

How does exposure to nicotine occur?

  • During pregnancy, nicotine passes from mother to baby.

How can I reduce my exposure to nicotine?

  • Do not use tobacco products. 
  • Avoid breathing air containing tobacco smoke or vapor that contains nicotine.
  • Do not allow children to use tobacco products, or spend time in places where tobacco products are being used.
  • If you use tobacco products, do your best to quit.  In the meantime, do not use these products near other people.  If you must smoke or vape, do so outdoors. 
  • Choose venues that are free of tobacco products.  In California, the use of tobacco products in public places, restaurants, bars, state-regulated gambling venues and most workplaces is not allowed.
  • Establish smoke-free and nicotine-free rules for your home and car.
  • Ask others not to use tobacco products near you and your family.
  • Avoid direct contact with the contents of vaping device refills that contain nicotine.

For more information:

General Nicotine Fact Sheets and Resources

Proposition 65

  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
    Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
Posted August 2017

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