Study: Popular Snuff Brands Have Highest Nicotine Levels

Of the five best-selling brands of snuff, the most popular have the highest content of nicotine and cancercausing chemicals, researchers say.

A study to be published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute said that Copenhagen, Skoal fine cut and Kodiak had “statistically significant higher levels of nicotine” than did Hawken and Skoal Bandits, the fourth and fifth most popular brands.

Copenhagen, Skoal fine cut and Kodiak account for 92 percent of the U.S. snuff market. Hawken and Skoal Bandits account for 3 percent.

“These data and the sales figures support the concept that the product design may be aimed at creating and maintaining nicotine dependence,” the study said.

The researchers said other studies suggest that “snuff dippers initially use brands with low nicotine dosage and then switch to brands with high nicotine dosage.”

Brands with high nicotine, the researchers report, also have the highest levels of tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs), which have been shown in a number of laboratory studies to be powerful cancercausing chemicals.

The industry disagreed.

Alan Hilburg of the Smokeless Tobacco Council said the methods of the study “were suspect” and that the results consisted of “a lot of data that they’ve repackaged.”

Hilburg also said of snuff: “It has not been scientifically established to cause any adverse health effect.”

TSNAs, he said, “have not been found to cause disease in humans.”

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