Surveillance of moist snuff: Total nicotine, moisture, pH, un-ionized nicotine, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines

Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research (Impact Factor: 3.3). 12/2008; 10(11):1645-52. DOI: 10.1080/14622200802412937
Source: PubMed


In 2005, approximately 2.3% of U.S. adults used smokeless tobacco. Moist snuff leads all types of smokeless tobacco in revenues and marketing expenditures. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that smokeless tobacco use can lead to nicotine addiction. The National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health has classified smokeless tobacco as a human carcinogen. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are potent carcinogens in smokeless tobacco products, and the pH of the product influences the content of un-ionized nicotine which is the form of nicotine most rapidly absorbed in the mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 40 top-selling brands of moist snuff to measure nicotine, moisture, pH, un-ionized nicotine, and TSNAs, including 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL). The study findings indicate that moist snuff brands varied widely in content of rapidly absorbed, addictive un-ionized nicotine (500-fold range) and of carcinogenic TSNAs (18-fold range). Product characteristics such as packaging and moisture content appeared to be correlated with concentrations of un-ionized nicotine, and flavor characteristics of low-priced brands may correlate with TSNA concentrations. These findings warrant further study in light of (a) the marketing of smokeless tobacco for use in places where smoking is prohibited, (b) the promotion of smokeless tobacco as a harm-reduction product, and (c) the ever-expanding number of highly flavored smokeless varieties brought to the market.

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    • "To minimise initiation (serving as a starter product as described by Connolly9), a performance standard of high rather than low nicotine may be considered along with a ban on flavorants.10 Additionally, because of the substantial variability of toxicants in smokeless tobacco products within and across different countries,11–13 performance standards for toxicants in these products are needed (regardless of whether or not nicotine in cigarettes is reduced). There are already known ways to reduce toxicant levels in oral tobacco products including use of specific tobacco leaves, curing and manufacturing processes that could easily be implemented.11 "
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    ABSTRACT: The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control provide us with powerful tools to reduce the death and disease caused by the use of tobacco products. One tool that can contribute substantially toward this goal is the authority to establish performance standards for tobacco products. Conjointly with reducing levels of nicotine in cigarettes, performance and quality control standards need to be established for non-combusted tobacco products. Performance standards and incentives should be provided so that tobacco companies are compelled to manufacture and market products with very low or almost non-existent toxicity (eg, nicotine-only products).
    Tobacco control 05/2013; 22 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):i36-i37. DOI:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050785 · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    • "In the present study, we examined the major categories of domestic oral tobacco products marketed in the United States (Table 1) excluding moist snuff. The moisture, pH, and the concentrations of total nicotine, unprotonated nicotine, and five TSNA compounds for 40 top-selling brands of moist snuff (loose and pouched varieties) have been reported elsewhere (Richter et al., 2008). One brand in the study by Richter and other CDC scientists was a non-tobacco herbal product (Oregon Mint Snuff). "
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    ABSTRACT: In the United States, moist snuff has been studied more widely than other distinct categories of oral tobacco. In this study, we measured pH, moisture, nicotine (total and unprotonated), and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs) for other established (twist, loose leaf, plug, and dry snuff without pouch) and emerging oral tobacco products (dry snuff pouch, U.S.-made snus, and dissolvable tobacco). Among the seven product categories, product pH ranged from 4.7 - 7.9, and total nicotine concentration spanned from 3.9 - 40.1 mg/g. The most readily absorbable form of nicotine (unprotonated nicotine) varied more than 350-fold, ranging from 0.01 - 3.7 mg/g. While the highest total nicotine concentrations were observed in twist products, snus and dissolvable tobacco had the highest unprotonated nicotine levels. Among all products, total TSNA concentrations ranged from 313 - 76,500 ng/g with dry snuff having the highest total TSNA concentrations. This study demonstrates the diversity among oral tobacco products and highlights the potential of these products to deliver a wide range of nicotine and carcinogenic TSNAs. Characterizing the chemical content of these products may be helpful in further understanding the risk of marketing these products to oral tobacco users and smokers as an alternative and discrete form of tobacco.
    Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 03/2013; 57. DOI:10.1016/j.fct.2013.03.011 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    • "No consistent trends between air-and firecured tobacco samples were seen. Values of 2,700 and 340 ng/g measured for NNN and NNK, respectively, are lower than averages of 6,270 and 970 ng/g measured for the top five brands of snuff sold in the United States in 1994 (Hoffmann et al., 1995), average values of 17,400 and 7,500 ng/g for the top five U.S. moist snuff brands in 2001 (Connolly, 2001), and average values of 6,880 and 1,810 ng/g for a survey of 40 U.S. moist snuff brands (Richter et al., 2008). Although these TSNA levels are lower than other smokeless products, the relative levels depend on the type of tobacco used, i.e., flue-cured tobaccos tend to have lower levels of TSNAs (Hecht, Ornaf, & Hoffmann, 1974). "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Iq'mik, a form of smokeless tobacco (ST), is traditionally used by Cup'ik and Yup'ik Eskimo people of western Alaska. Iq'mik is sometimes incorrectly considered to be a healthier alternative to smoking because its ingredients are perceived as "natural." Our chemical characterization of iq'mik shows that iq'mik is not a safe alternative to smoking or other ST use. Methods: We measured nicotine and pH levels of tobacco and ash used to prepare iq'mik. We also characterized levels of toxins which are known to be present in ST including tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using chromatographic separations coupled with isotope dilution mass spectrometry. Results: Nicotine content in the iq'mik tobacco was very high, ranging from 35 to 43 mg/g, with a mean of 39 mg/g. The pH of the iq'mik tobacco-ash mixture was 11, an extremely high level compared with most ST products. High levels of PAHs were seen in the fire-cured tobacco samples with a benzo[a]pyrene level of 87 ng/g. Average TSNA levels in the tobacco were 34, 2,700, and 340 ng/g for 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), N'-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), respectively. Conclusions: Iq'mik contains high levels of the more easily absorbed unionized nicotine as well as known carcinogenic TSNAs and PAHs. The perception that iq'mik is less hazardous than other tobacco products due to the use of "natural" ingredients is not warranted. This chemical characterization of iq'mik gives a better understanding of the risk of possible adverse health effects of its use.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 01/2013; 15(7). DOI:10.1093/ntr/nts270 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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