Chemical characterization of dissolvable tobacco products promoted to reduce harm

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 23;59(6):2745-51. doi: 10.1021/jf103295d. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


In 2009, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. released a line of dissolvable tobacco products that are marketed as an alternative to smoking in places where smoking is prohibited. These products are currently available in Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, and Portland, OR. This paper describes the chemical characterization of four such products by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The dissolvable tobacco products were extracted and prepared by ultrasonic extraction using acetone, trimethylsilyl derivatization, and headspace solid phase microextraction (SPME). The following compounds were identified in the dissolvables using either ultrasonic extractions or trimethylsilyl derivatization: nicotine, ethyl citrate, palmitic acid, stearic acid, sorbitol, glycerol, and xylitol. The following compounds were identified in the dissolvables using headspace SPME: nicotine, ethyl citrate, cinnamaldehyde, coumarin, vanillin, and carvone. With the exception of nicotine, the compounds identified thus far in the dissolvables are either flavoring compounds or binders. The concentration of free nicotine in the dissolvables was determined from the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation and by measuring the pH and nicotine concentration by GC-MS. The results presented here are the first to reveal the complexity of dissolvable tobacco products and may be used to assess potential oral health effects.

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Nicotine / chemistry
  • Nicotine / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Solid Phase Microextraction
  • Solubility
  • Tobacco / adverse effects
  • Tobacco / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Nicotine