1. noni_moon
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    noni_moon New Member

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    question about liquid nicotine as a murder weapon

    Discussion in 'Research' started by noni_moon, Jun 30, 2014.

    Hi!

    I'm writing a short murder mystery story, but I'm not so sure if I'm doing the "murder" part right.

    English is not my first language, so I'll try my best to explain.

    The victim in my story used to be a heavy smoker for most of his life. Two years before his death he began using e-cigarettes instead of regular ones to allow himself to gradually quite smoking. That didn't work out, and he ended up having Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He needed to use an inhaler to help him breath more easily.

    Here's the tricky part for me... the idea I had in mind was: the killer used liquid nicotine as a murder weapon. Not any liquid nicotine, but the liquid nicotine that can be found in the nicotine cartridge of an e-cigarette. He used enough lethal amount of liquid nicotine (from 10 e-cigarettes) and put it inside the victim's inhaler.

    Now my question is: is it possible to inhale this kind of liquid nicotine from an inhaler? or am I just dumb?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not really familiar with e-cigarettes, but I have to assume they have some sort of governor built in to meter out the nicotine in appropriate amounts. Your killer would have to rig the entire apparatus so that it delivers a whopping dose all at once. If you're to use the substance already available within real e-cigarettes, you have to wonder how much of that substance is filler and not actual nicotine. Could an e-cigarette even hold enough of the stuff to kill someone? Could it be made to? Is there enough room in the device even when modded? Wouldn't the intended victim notice a different in weight in the device? If the victim inhales it, the amount needed of the off-the-shelf stuff to kill him/her is probably going to induce a cough/hack reaction, like taking a bong-swat you just weren't ready for. Wouldn't they just cough up the substance? There could be still enough tissue absorption to make him/her really sick, but would it kill them?
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Electronic cigarettes have atomizers that vaporize the liquid into something you can "smoke."

    Inhalers do not work like that. They just release what is inside.

    Even if an inhaler could do it, I don't think it would work--since you would need a big enough dose to kill him in one inhale. Because he would most certainly be able to tell something is wrong by the taste, and maybe even the weight; e-liquid is pretty heavy in comparison.

    You could maybe have your killer inject him with it. I know that a big problem with electronic cigarettes--especially if someone buys a high percentage of nicotine liquid--is having a hard time regulating your nicotine intake, since most people who smoke real cigarettes can gauge it by how many they smoke. You can puff on an electronic cigarette all day long without any fatigue on your throat. So anyways, my point is, maybe injecting him with the highest percentage available would kill him, and make it look like an overdose on his part or something. You would need to look into it, though.
     
  4. noni_moon
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    noni_moon New Member

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    Could an e-cigarette even hold enough of the stuff to kill someone?

    I was thinking of using a type of e-cigarettes called "cowboy killer", which has the highest amount of e-liquid nicotine (36 mg). The killer will use 10 of those, so the amount would be 180 mg, which I think it could be enough to kill someone. Especially if the victim's lungs were already very sick.

    But you're right.. the victim will most likely notice a different in weight in the device.

    Electronic cigarettes have atomizers that vaporize the liquid into something you can "smoke."
    Inhalers do not work like that. They just release what is inside.

    Ah! that's why I had my doubts. I figured that a regular inhaler might not be able to do the trick. Too bad :(

    maybe injecting him with the highest percentage available would kill him

    Injection was the first thing I thought of, but I went with the "poising by inhaling" bit because of character-based reasons rather than a plot-related reasons.

    The victim used to own a tobacco company, and the killer had a strong scene of irony and poetic justice so he planned to have the victim killed in this specific way.

    But since it won't work out realisticly I might have to do some major changes in the killer's personality and motives.
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Death by nicotine is death by nicotine. It still fits within the confines of his motives in my opinion.

    But it's your story, so do what makes best sense for you. :agreed:
     
  6. noni_moon
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    noni_moon New Member

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    Death by nicotine is death by nicotine. It still fits within the confines of his motives in my opinion.

    Heh, I guess you're right. My problem is that I tend to be stubborn when I get attached to an idea. Especially when it has a strong link to one of the main themes of my story. When it doesn't work I try my best to get around it to make it work somehow.

    Right now I'm thinking of having the nicotine poured on the inhaler itself, so the poison would be absorbed through the skin. Not sure if it will be enough to be lethal. I read once that only pure nicotine can be lethal in small amounts if it was absorbed through the skin.

    Hmm.. I guess I'll have a lot of stuff to research.

    Thanks a lot, guys! I really appreciate your help :)
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read Yellow as Legal Pads by Fran Stewart.
     
  8. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    I wonder if one could put enough on a hand towel in the bathroom.

    Difficulties: A) could you get the right dose to kill, B) would have be done shortly before he used the facilities, C) would want to remove the towel afterwards.

    -Frank
     
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  10. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    From what I've gathered, in that case the liquid should be some super-strong stuff that's most definitely not over-the-counter. I've had 2,6% (I guess 26mg to keep up with the same unit) liquid splash on my hands and it was no biggie: I just wiped it off and after a while washed my hands 'cause e-liquid is kinda sticky.

    Also, I'd imagine there's no over-the-counter product that would kill with one inhalation: the liquid would have to be some ├╝ber-strong concoction which the character would either have to make himself or use shadier contacts to find it.

    Then again, if he has shady contacts, why not go for cyanide? At least that would be a surefire killer.

    Another thing is that 180mg of e-liquid is a hell of a lot, i.e. the contraption that would hold it should be pretty big. Most e-cigs hold 5-10mg at most, so I'd definitely notice if a big-ass can had suddenly appeared on my eGo. Not sure how big normal inhalators are, so of course if they can hold 180mg of liquid regularly, then the victim might not notice the difference as easily.

    Anyway, to me, this just sounds a bit like all those James Bond -villain schemes that have so many ways to fail because they're so elaborate and have so many variables that could cause the whole murder attempt to go tits up that if I were the murderer, I'd just smash the guy's skull in with a tyre iron, use a hunting rifle to drop him with a headshot from half a mile away or something like that and be done with it: I'd use a simple, proven method that produces as certain/consisten results as humanely possible and focus my efforts on ensuring there's no evidence linking me to the murder instead of staging an elaborate scheme that has way too many variables to be reliable even though it would leave less evidence to clean up afterwards... if it even kills the guy in the first place.
     
  11. noni_moon
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    noni_moon New Member

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    Again, guys, I really can't thank you enough for all the nice responses. :)

    I finally decided to go with with the "injection" idea. Mostly because there has been a case where it was enough to kill someone (it was a suicide case, though).

    http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/03/25/e-cigarettes-nicotine-liquid-triggers-reefer-madness-in-the-new-york-times

    And the victim's wife in my story has diabetes, so that would cover the "finding a needle" part nicely, I think.

    The victim would be injected with the poison in his sleep.

    That's simple enough, I guess. And it would still work with the killer's motives and personality.
     
  12. nippy818
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    nippy818 Active Member

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    What if you used a trans-dermal gel mixed with the nicotine. The victim uses lotion or its coated on something he carries with him and is absorbed into the skin. large enough dose at once will kill him. think thank you for smoking with the patches
     

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