Objective: To determine the nicotine content of commonly used tobacco in hubble-bubble (HB) and compare it with that found in cigarettes.
Methods: Analysis of nicotine content of 13 commercial brands of HB tobacco was carried out using gas chromatography over an 8 month period; November 2002 through to June 2003 at the Toxicology Laboratory, University of Jordan.
Results: A wide variation in nicotine content in all brands was noticed with an average of 8.32 mg/g tobacco, range (1.8-41.3 mg/g). The average nicotine content in each HB head (20 gm) of unflavored tobacco was (713 mg/head) and flavored tobacco has (67 mg/head). One head of unflavored tobacco has nicotine equivalent to 70 regular cigarettes. The addition of adulterations; honey, glycerin and other flavors in the process of preparing the flavored (Muasel) tobacco contributes to lowering the nicotine content in each gram of flavored tobacco. Smoking one head of flavored (Mua'sel) tobacco which contains on average one third of nicotine presented in 20 cigarettes (204 mg/pack) usually resulted in a higher plasma nicotine level by 20%.
Conclusion: Hubble-bubble smokers are not at a lesser risk from smoking than cigarette smokers in relation to nicotine dependence. The inability of water to trap significant amounts of chemical substances present in tobacco (especially nicotine) and the danger which might result from the combustion of additives like; glycerin, honey and other flavors could be a very important factor to extrapolate the damage resulting from HB smoking.