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Do They Differ? Flavored versus Unflavored Waterpipe Tobacco Flavor Ingredients

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Objectives: In this study, we characterized the sweet flavor ingredients in 2 internationally popular waterpipe tobaccos, flavored and unflavored. Methods: Tobacco extracts were quantified for humectants, sugars, menthol, nicotine, and sugar alcohols. Qualitative screening of flavor volatiles was performed, and 12 flavor volatiles were quantified. Results: Humectant content was 20 times greater in the flavored brand versus the unflavored, largely due to greater concentration of the glycerol. Sugar content was approximately 1.7 times higher in the flavored tobacco. Vanillin levels were > 200 times greater in the flavored brand. Nicotine content of the unflavored tobacco was 1.5 times greater on a mg/g tobacco basis, which can be explained by the much larger humectant mass content of the flavored tobacco. Conclusions: Flavored waterpipe tobacco may contain significantly greater amounts of humectants and flavor components (the compounds that make up the overall flavor), which may be harmful to users, compared to unflavored. Limiting flavors in waterpipe tobacco could aid in maximizing public health benefits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2020

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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