Additives in Tobacco Products

Additives in tobacco products 

Nearly all commercial tobacco products contain chemical additives. As long ago as the sixteenth century, Spanish sailors applied licorice water to tobacco as a preservative. 

Today, both cigarette and smokeless tobacco manufacturers publicly acknowledge the use of hundreds of additives in their products. The modern cigarette contains about 10 percent additives by weight, mostly in the form of sugars, humectants, ammonia compounds, cocoa, and licorice.

Smokeless tobacco likewise incorporates moisteners, sweeteners, and flavours such as cherry juice. These additives may affect the flavour of the product, sensory properties such as smoothness and impact, and other important product characteristics.

 Role of Additives in Cigarettes

 The flavour of a tobacco is primarily determined by the tobacco leaf blend, while additives are used to modify or enhance tobacco flavour characteristics. Menthol is the only commonly recognized tobacco flavour category, although vanilla, cherry, orange, and other product flavours have been introduced commercially. Most additives are used in very small amounts-less than .01 percent of total weight. As a result, although the cumulative effect of additives on tobacco flavour may be significant, it is often difficult or impossible to assess the impact of specific flavorants.

Additives perform a number of roles in addition to altering product flavours. 

Some additives demonstrate properties Pipe tobacco for sale that significantly alter product chemistry. A number of additives in both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products are used for modification of “smoke pH,” which is a measure of its acid/base chemistry. Increased “smoke pH” allows more nicotine to be present in the chemical freebase form, which is more readily available for absorption and use in the body (much as crack cocaine is a more potent freebase form of cocaine). Other additives increase or alter the effects of nicotine, or produce their own effects on the central nervous system and brain. For example, pyridine, a cigarette additive, acts as a depressant in much the same way that nicotine does, although it is less potent.

Manufacturers have used modified forms of tobacco, in combination with other design changes, to reduce the amount of tar produced per cigarette and to cut production costs.

Physiological and Behavioural Effects  

Additives may produce important changes to the effects of tobacco, altering dependence, toxicity, or use behaviours. For example, additives may increase the addictive character of tobacco smoke by altering the effects of nicotine or by exerting other pharmacologic effects on the user.

 Menthol has been shown to enhance drug absorption and demonstrates effects on metabolism that could alter the pharmacological action of other substances in tobacco smoke.

Changes in chemical composition of tobacco products could alter the site and rate of uptake of nicotine and other constituents. For example, a greater percentage of nicotine delivered in freebase form may result in increased rates of absorption in the mouth as well as faster absorption from the lower respiratory tract to the brain. These changes could alter the intensity of response and increase dependence. The addition of bronchodilators to cigarettes may have similar effects by allowing deeper inhalation and deposition of smoke constituents in areas of the respiratory tract where they are more likely to be absorbed.

The perception of smoother smoke may facilitate increased or deeper inhalation of tobacco smoke by removing physical barriers. Similarly, reduced irritation may encourage or support increased frequency of use.

Published research suggests that increasing ease of inhalation may be linked to increased rates of initiation among youth. Candy-like flavours, such as cherry, may also be used to target youth.

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