Volatile N-nitrosamines in snuff and chewing tobacco on the Swedish market

Food Chem Toxicol. 1983 Dec;21(6):759-62. doi: 10.1016/0278-6915(83)90210-7.


Snuff and chewing tobacco on the Swedish market in 1981-82 were analysed for volatile N-nitrosamines using gas chromatography-thermal energy analysis. Detectable levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine and N-nitrosopyrrolidine were found in nearly all of the 36 samples analysed. N-nitrosopiperidine and N-nitrosomorpholine were also found in some samples. The total concentration of volatile N-nitrosamines found in any sample was between 0.5 and 145.9 micrograms/kg wet weight. Storage of snuff in unopened boxes for 20 wk at -20, +2 or +23 degrees C resulted in small but statistically insignificant changes in the volatile N-nitrosamine content. Storage for 20 wk at +2 degrees C in boxes that had been opened and resealed led to a larger but statistically insignificant increase in the mean level of total volatile N-nitrosamines. The levels of volatile N-nitrosamines found in Swedish snuff in 1981 and 1982 were significantly (P less than 0.05) lower than those found in 1979. It is estimated that in Sweden today the use of snuff can increase the normal intake of the N-nitrosamines studied here by about 10 to 100%.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nitrosamines / isolation & purification*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Sweden
  • Tobacco / analysis*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / analysis*
  • Volatilization


  • Nitrosamines