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Grass roots approach to control levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines, NNN and NNK in smokeless tobacco products

Gupta, Alpana K., Tulsyan, Sonam, Bharadwaj, Mausumi, Mehrotra, Ravi
Food and chemical toxicology 2019 v.124 pp. 359-366
burden of disease, business enterprises, carcinogens, cigarettes, humans, manufacturing, morbidity, mortality, neoplasms, nitrosamines, plant growth, quality of life, smokeless tobacco, toxicology
Due to the extensive ban on public smoking, tobacco companies focused their business on new smokeless tobacco (SLT) products promoting them as a harm reduction strategy and a safer alternative to cigarettes. Two nitrosamines, N′-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone (NNK), present in SLT, listed as group 1 human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, are found to be the prime agents for most of cancers in SLT users. This review illustrates the mechanism of cancer induction by NNN and NNK in humans along with factors influencing the formation of NNN and NNK at various stages of tobacco manufacturing. It reveals the high levels and wide variations of NNN and NNK found among the diverse variety of SLT products sold worldwide. According to a recent report by FDA- Centre for Tobacco Products, reducing levels of nitrosamines in SLT products could greatly enhance the quality of life by reducing mortality, morbidity and medical expenditures due to cancer. For the first time, grass root approaches to minimize the levels of NNN and NNK in tobacco, from plant growth to the finished products, have been systematically compiled as they have the potential to contribute to reducing tobacco related disease burden.