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Levels of mint and wintergreen flavorants: Smokeless tobacco products vs. confectionery products

Chen, C., Isabelle, L.M., Pickworth, W.B., Pankow, J.F.
Food and chemical toxicology 2010 v.48 no.2 pp. 755-763
smokeless tobacco, flavorings, menthol, mint, methyl salicylate, sweets, quantitative analysis
Nicotine and flavorant compound levels were measured in 10 “mint”-related sub-brands and 8 “wintergreen” sub-brands of smokeless tobacco (SLT). Also analyzed were “mint”-related and “wintergreen” confectionery products. Of the “mint” SLT, “Timberwolf Packs Mint Pouches” contained the highest menthol level (5.3 mg/g); the average for the five most-highly mentholated SLT products was 4.3 mg/g. The average for the most five most-highly mentholated confectionery products was 3.5 mg/g. For hard candy, a reported average of maximum use levels is 2.1 mg/g (Burdock, 2009). Of the “wintergreen” SLT, “Hawken Wintergreen” was found to contain the highest methyl salicylate (MS) level (29.7 mg/g). The average of the five highest SLT MS levels was 23.8 mg/g, i.e., 5× higher than the level found in the confectionery product with the highest MS level (LifeSavers Wint O Green Sugar Free, 4.6 mg/g). For hard candy, a reported average of maximum use levels is 2.0 mg/g (Burdock, 2009). Assuming 23.8 mg/g MS in SLT, SLT use at 15 g/day, 100% bodily absorption of the MS, and 60 kg body weight, the average daily intake would be 6.0 mg/kg-day, i.e., 12× the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0.5 mg/kg-day established for this compound by a joint FAO/WHO committee.