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First identification of a strong oral carcinogen in smokeless tobacco
Date:8/22/2012

when people eat foods containing high levels of nitrite. But nitrosamine levels in smokeless tobacco are far higher than in food.

To do it, they gave laboratory rats a low dose of two forms of NNN, suspected carcinogens in smokeless tobacco, for 17 months in doses roughly equivalent to a person consuming half of a tin of smokeless tobacco every day for 30 years. One substance, (S)-NNN, induced large numbers of oral and esophageal tumors in the rats.

"The most popular brands of smokeless tobacco that are sold in the U.S. have unacceptably high levels of this particular carcinogen," explained Hecht. "And smokeless tobacco is a known cause of oral cancer. Obviously, we need to decrease the levels of this material in all smokeless tobacco products or eliminate it altogether." Hecht adds that removing (S)-NNN from these products is feasible. In fact, some products on store shelves today have reduced levels of the carcinogen.

Hecht explained that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco products, but no regulations on the levels of specific carcinogens exist yet. "My suggestion is that levels of (S)-NNN in smokeless tobacco be decreased to below 10 parts per billion. That would make it more consistent with the levels of nitrosamines in food products," he said. (S)-NNN also is in cigarettes and other smoked tobacco items, and he suggested that the substance be regulated in these products, as well.


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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
215-418-2056 (Philadelphia Press Center, Aug. 17-23)
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

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