Cigarette Butts contain enough nicotine to kill your child

Here's an unknown fact about cigarettes. The reason why tobacco plants produce nicotine is because nicotine is an insecticide. And it is a potent one -- 50 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill an adult human being.

When a person smokes a cigarette, all of the smoke passes through the cigarette's filter and the smoker receives two or three milligrams of nicotine from the smoke that he or she inhales. This small dose is not toxic and has several effects on the smoker -- it increases the smoker's heart rate for example, and causes blood vessels to constrict.

When the smoker finishes the cigarette and flicks the butt away, the butt actually contains a significant amount of nicotine trapped in the fibers of the filter -- perhaps 20 milligrams. That is enough, it turns out, to kill your child. If 20 milligrams of nicotine is ingested by a small child, the nicotine will cause respiratory failure and paralysis.

We all know how excited infants and toddlers are about putting everything they find in their mouths. If you put your infant or toddler on the sidewalk, and if the child happens upon a fresh cigarette butt, and if the child does the completely normal thing of putting the butt in his or her mouth and swallowing it, then you have an emergency. It is definitely time to call the poison control center and/or head for the emergency room, because that cigarette butt may very well be lethal.