Levels of mint and wintergreen flavorants: smokeless tobacco products vs. confectionery products

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Feb;48(2):755-63. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.12.015. Epub 2010 Jan 13.


Nicotine and flavorant compound levels were measured in 10 "mint"-related sub-brands and 8 "wintergreen" sub-brands of smokeless tobacco (SLT). Also analyzed were "mint"-related and "wintergreen" confectionery products. Of the "mint" SLT, "Timberwolf Packs Mint Pouches" contained the highest menthol level (5.3 mg/g); the average for the five most-highly mentholated SLT products was 4.3 mg/g. The average for the most five most-highly mentholated confectionery products was 3.5 mg/g. For hard candy, a reported average of maximum use levels is 2.1 mg/g (Burdock, 2009). Of the "wintergreen" SLT, "Hawken Wintergreen" was found to contain the highest methyl salicylate (MS) level (29.7 mg/g). The average of the five highest SLT MS levels was 23.8 mg/g, i.e., 5x higher than the level found in the confectionery product with the highest MS level (LifeSavers Wint O Green Sugar Free, 4.6 mg/g). For hard candy, a reported average of maximum use levels is 2.0 mg/g (Burdock, 2009). Assuming 23.8 mg/g MS in SLT, SLT use at 15 g/day, 100% bodily absorption of the MS, and 60 kg body weight, the average daily intake would be 6.0 mg/kg-day, i.e., 12x the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0.5 mg/kg-day established for this compound by a joint FAO/WHO committee.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Candy*
  • Flavoring Agents / analysis*
  • Mentha / chemistry*
  • Menthol / analysis
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / analysis*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis*
  • Salicylates / analysis
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / chemistry*


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Salicylates
  • Menthol
  • ethyl salicylate
  • wintergreen oil
  • Nicotine
  • methyl salicylate