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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1981 Aug;30(2):201-9.

Plasma nicotine and cotinine concentrations in habitual smokeless tobacco users.


Plasma nicotine and cotinine levels were measured in habitual users of smokeless tobacco. The subjects were 12 male college students who regularly used smokeless tobacco (11 dipped snuff and one chewed tobacco) and did not smoke cigarettes. Subjects abstained from tobacco use overnight and blood was drawn at 8 A.M. and again after a single day of ad libitum consumption of their own tobacco product. Subjects recorded the times at which tobacco was used and the remainder product was weighed. Plasma samples were analyzed by both gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) and radioimmunoassay (RIA) techniques. Subjects consumed about one third of a can of moist ground snuff (10.8 gm) in eight dips spaced throughout the day. Nicotine absorption was observed and an increase in mean plasma concentration fro 2.9 ng/ml after overnight abstinence to 21.6 ng/ml after 6 to 8 hr ad libitum consumption was recorded. Plasma cotinine concentrations rose from a morning mean of 137.3 ng/ml to an afternoon mean of 197.2 ng/ml, concentrations that are typical of those reached in regular cigarette smokers. Subjects fell into two subgroups by post hoc analysis: two-thirds absorbed substantial amounts of nicotine and one-third appeared to have almost no absorption. Subjective effects of tobacco use were not marked; there was little perception of physiologic changes, stimulation, or feelings of relaxation/satisfaction. Results are discussed in terms of pharmacologic effects, comparison of results from GLC and RIA methodologies, and implications for health behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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