The role of ammonia in the transfer of nicotine from tobacco to mainstream smoke

Authored by  CH Callicutt, RH Cox, FS Hsu*, R Kinser, SW Laffoon*, PN Lee*, KF Podraza, EB Sanders, JI Seeman*

Published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology     
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.

PMID: 16875767


This study has examined the possible effects of ammonia-forming ingredients added to tobacco and of ammonia in mainstream (MS) smoke on the nicotine transfer from tobacco to smoke. The U.S. 1998 Marlboro Lights® King Size cigarette was used as a control for four test variants that differed from the control as follows: first, a reduction in ammonia-forming ingredients added to the reconstituted tobaccos; second, no ammonia-forming ingredients added to the reconstituted tobaccos; third, no ingredients at all added to the reconstituted tobaccos; and fourth, no ingredients at all added to the entire tobacco blend. Data were obtained on nicotine in tobacco, tar and nicotine and ammonia in MS smoke, soluble ammonia in the cigarette tobacco, “tobacco pH,” and “smoke pH” using the FTC machine-smoking paradigm. Previous research on these cigarettes demonstrated that >99% of the MS smoke nicotine was captured and quantified by the FTC method. Statistically significant increases in soluble ammonia and MS smoke ammonia were observed for those cigarettes with ammonia-forming ingredients added to the reconstituted tobacco. However, ingredients, including ammonia and ammonia-forming compounds added to the tobacco or ammonia in the mainstream smoke in the Marlboro Lights® King Size cigarette, did not increase the relative nicotine transfer or the “pH of aqueous extracts of MS smoke.” “Tobacco pH” and “smoke pH” had no scientific or practical value for the cigarettes in this study. 

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