Reductions in the tobacco specific nitrosamine (TSNA) content of tobaccos taken from commercial Canadian cigarettes and corresponding reductions in TSNA deliveries in mainstream smoke from such cigarettes

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;51(3):306-10. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2008.04.009. Epub 2008 Apr 24.


Tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are suspected to cause smoking-related neoplastic diseases. The change from direct-fired to indirect-fired barns (aka kilns) for curing bright (aka Virginia, flue-cured) tobaccos was made to reduce the TSNA concentrations. The effectiveness of such processes in reducing the deliveries of TSNAs to the users of the products should be monitored. However, it is difficult to assess the effects of this reduction on the TSNA levels in mainstream smoke when cigarette blends contain burley tobaccos and other blend components that can increase smoke TSNA concentrations. Canadian cigarettes made prior to and in the few years just after the conversion to indirect-fired curing should not be subject to such interferences. Thus, the TSNA content of tobaccos and mainstream smoke from six brands of Canadian cigarettes produced in 2003, 2004, and 2005 were determined. Reductions in NNK [4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone], the most important TSNA in flue-cured tobaccos, levels in the tobacco blends ranged from 60% to 85%. The corresponding reductions in mainstream smoke TSNA levels ranged from 59% to 72% (ISO smoking conditions) and 58-76% (Health Canada Intensive smoking conditions). These results show that other factors (microorganisms, nitrite levels) may be negating the TSNA reductions achieved by indirect-fired curing.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Nitrosamines / analysis*
  • Plants, Toxic / chemistry*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking
  • Tars / chemistry*
  • Tobacco / chemistry*


  • Nitrosamines
  • Smoke
  • Tars
  • tobacco tar