Constituent variation in smokeless tobacco purchased in Mumbai, India

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Tobacco Regulatory Science

Objectives: Worldwide, smokeless tobacco products vary greatly in their formulations and chemical composition. Understanding of toxic and carcinogenic constituent variations in such products can provide valuable insights for the development of effective tobacco control policies. In this study, we applied a standardized protocol to collect and analyze smokeless products sold in Mumbai, India.

Methods: Tobacco products were purchased at 3 markets in Mumbai, using standardized protocol for sample collection, labeling, and storage. Moisture content, pH, total and unprotonated nicotine, and 5 tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA) were analyzed by validated methods.

Results: We purchased 39 samples representing 8 varieties of manufactured and vendor-made smokeless tobacco products. Total nicotine ranged from 5.3 to 57.8 mg/g dry weight. Unprotonated nicotine content varied from 0.13% to 99.8% of total nicotine. Total TSNA content ranged from 0.17 to 81.0 μg/g dry weight. When expressed per wet weight of product, unprotonated nicotine varied more than 300-fold and TSNA content varied more than 650-fold across the products. Substantial vendor-to-vendor variations were also observed.

Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the critical need for systematic smokeless tobacco surveillance in India, to improve understanding of exposures and cancer risks in users of these products.

Stepanov I, Gupta P.C, Parascandola M, Yershova K, Jain V, Dhumal G.G, Hatsukami D.K. Constituent Variation in Smokeless Tobacco Purchased in Mumbai, India. Tob. Regul Sci. TM 2017; 3(3): 305-314, DOI: 3.3.6.