Major tobacco companies have technology to reduce carcinogen levels but do not apply it to popular smokeless tobacco products

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Abstract

In 2006, Reynolds American, Inc (RAI), a major tobacco company, purchased the American Snuff Company, LLC (formerly Conwood Company), manufacturer of the moist snuff products Grizzly and Kodiak. In January 2009, Altria Group, Inc (the parent company of Philip Morris USA), one of the world's largest tobacco companies, acquired the United States Smokeless Tobacco Company (USST), manufacturer of the popular moist snuff products Copenhagen and Skoal, sales of which totalled over 540 million cans in 2009. Smokeless tobacco is carcinogenic to humans, causing oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. 1 2 It has been known since the 1970s that smokeless tobacco products such as Copenhagen and Skoal contain relatively high levels of the carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines N9-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(methylnitrosamino)- 1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), themselves considered human carcinogens. 2 The typical 1e10 ppm amounts of both NNN and NNK in these products are hundreds to thousands of times higher than carcinogenic nitrosamine levels in non-tobacco products such as cured meat or beer. 3 No evidence has been found that Conwood and USST took any meaningful steps to reduce the relatively high levels of NNN and NNK in their products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443
Number of pages1
JournalTobacco control
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

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