Aluminum in tobacco and cannabis and smoking-related disease

Am J Med. 2006 Mar;119(3):276.e9-11. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.08.004.


Purpose: The study aimed to confirm the very high content of aluminum in tobacco and cannabis and to provide for the first time evidence that such aluminum could be biologically available.

Methods: Complete digestion of tobacco and cannabis was achieved using a 50:50 mixture of 14 M HNO3 and 0.1 M NaF. Total Al in digests was measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. A bespoke cigarette smoking apparatus was used to determine if aluminum in active or passive tobacco/cannabis smoke would be trapped by a surrogate lung fluid.

Results: The aluminum content of tobacco and cannabis was confirmed to be high, as much as 0.37% and 0.4% by weight respectively. Aluminum in tobacco and cannabis smoke, whether actively (drawn) or passively inhaled, was shown to accumulate significantly in surrogate lung fluids, thus demonstrating its potential biological availability.

Conclusions: Active and passive smoking of tobacco or cannabis will increase the body burden of aluminum and thereby contribute to respiratory, neurological and other smoking-related disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / adverse effects
  • Aluminum / analysis*
  • Aluminum / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Availability
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced
  • Tobacco / chemistry*


  • Aluminum