Sources of and technical approaches for the abatement of tobacco specific nitrosamine formation in moist smokeless tobacco products

Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Mar;50(3-4):942-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.11.035. Epub 2011 Nov 28.


The presence of TSNA has been suggested as a potentially important cancer risk factor for moist smokeless tobacco (MST) products. We describe studies of the impact of tobacco agronomic and production practices which influence TSNA formation. TSNA were measured at points in the MST production chain from the farm to the finished product at the end of shelf life. Analyses were conducted to define points at which TSNA may occur, the factors related to the magnitude of occurrence, and actions which may be taken to mitigate such occurrence. Weather conditions during the curing season can have a dramatic impact on TSNA levels in tobacco, with wet seasons markedly increasing TSNA levels in cured tobacco. TSNA levels in MST do not increase beyond levels in cured tobacco when production practices limit the presence of nitrate reducing bacteria. Therefore, TSNA in such products are a function of the agronomic practices and conditions under which tobacco is produced at the farm level. Regional and annual variation in TSNA levels results from the stochastic nature of agronomic factors related to TSNA formation during tobacco growing and curing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fermentation
  • Nitrosamines / chemical synthesis*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / chemistry*


  • Nitrosamines