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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2009;(192):61-82. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-69248-5_3.

Nicotine content and delivery across tobacco products.

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Tobacco Control Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Blvd, EPN 4048, MSC 7337, Bethesda, MD 20892-7337, USA.


Nicotine is the principal alkaloid in both commercial and homemade products (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, bidis, waterpipes) followed by nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine, and many other basic substances that contain a cyclic nitrogenous nucleus. Tobacco types, leaf position on the plant, agricultural practices, fertilizer treatment, and degree of ripening are among some prominent factors that determine the levels of alkaloids in tobacco leaf. From a random examination of 152 cultivated varieties of Nicotiana tabacum, a range of alkaloid variation between 0.17 and 4.93% was determined. In fact, every step in tobacco production that affects plant metabolism will influence the level of alkaloid content to a certain degree. Depending on blending recipe, type and amount of additives, and product design, all types of tobacco products contain a very wide range of nicotine concentration. However, the ultimate emission of nicotine to the user, exposure, and psychophar-macological effects depend not only on the content and emission, but also on the relationship between the product and the user.

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