Main content area

Comprehensive chemical characterization of Rapé tobacco products: Nicotine, un-ionized nicotine, tobacco-specific N′-nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and flavor constituents

Stanfill, Stephen B., Oliveira da Silva, André Luiz, Lisko, Joseph G., Lawler, Tameka S., Kuklenyik, Peter, Tyx, Robert E., Peuchen, Elizabeth H., Richter, Patricia, Watson, Clifford H.
Food and chemical toxicology 2015 v.82 pp. 50-58
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Nicotiana rustica, camphor, carcinogens, coumarin, eugenol, flavor, nicotine, nitrosamines, nose, pH, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, public health, smokeless tobacco, toxicology, South America
Rapé, a diverse group of smokeless tobacco products indigenous to South America, is generally used as a nasal snuff and contains substantial amount of plant material with or without tobacco. Previously uncharacterized, rapé contains addictive and harmful chemicals that may have public health implications for users. Here we report % moisture, pH, and the levels of total nicotine, un-ionized nicotine, flavor-related compounds, tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for manufactured and hand-made rapé. Most rapé products were mildly acidic (pH 5.17–6.23) with total nicotine ranging from 6.32 to 47.6 milligram per gram of sample (mg/g). Calculated un-ionized nicotine ranged from 0.03 to 18.5 mg/g with the highest values associated with hand-made rapés (pH 9.75–10.2), which contain alkaline ashes. In tobacco-containing rapés, minor alkaloid levels and Fourier transform infrared spectra were used to confirm the presence of Nicotiana rustica, a high nicotine tobacco species. There was a wide concentration range of TSNAs and PAHs among the rapés analyzed. Several TSNAs and PAHs identified in the products are known or probable carcinogens according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Milligram quantities of some non-tobacco constituents, such as camphor, coumarin, and eugenol, warrant additional evaluation.