The aim of this study was to evaluate pharmacokinetic and subjective responses to a prototype nicotine pyruvate (NP) aerosol generation system. In nine healthy adult daily cigarette smokers, plasma nicotine levels and subjective responses were assessed after double-blind administration of 10 inhalations of: NP (10 μg/puff, 20 μg/puff, and 30 μg/puff); Nicotrol/Nicorette nicotine vapor inhaler (NV) cartridge; and placebo (room air). Plasma nicotine concentrations increased to a significantly greater extent after inhalations of 20 μg/puff or 30 μg/puff NP (by 5.0 ± 3.4 ng/ml and 8.3 ± 3.1 ng/ml) than after placebo and NV conditions. Satisfaction ratings were higher for all NP conditions than for placebo, and harshness/irritation was lower for the NP 20 condition than for the NV control condition. Pulmonary function showed no adverse changes. These results demonstrate that NP inhalations produce rapid increases in plasma nicotine concentrations, provide satisfaction and are well tolerated. At the 20 μg/puff dose, peak nicotine concentrations were higher than with the Nicotrol/Nicorette nicotine vapor inhaler cartridge. Further trials of this promising nicotine inhalation technology are warranted to assess its safety and efficacy in smoking cessation treatment or harm reduction approaches.