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Nicotine and pH in Waterpipe Tobacco

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Objectives: A hookah is used to smoke waterpipe tobacco. It is unknown what percentage of waterpipe tobacco contains nicotine, and no labeling regulations currently exist in the United States. The aim of this study was to determine nicotine and pH levels of waterpipe tobacco. Methods: Waterpipe tobacco was purchased in 2014 and 2015. Nicotine content of tobacco was analyzed using the CORESTA Recommended Method N° 62: determination of nicotine in tobacco and tobacco products by gas chromatography. Results: The nicotine content of waterpipe tobacco ranged from nicotine-free for 'herbal' products to 3.30 mg/g for products claiming to contain nicotine (mean = 1.13 mg/g; std dev = 0.65; N = 140). In products that claimed to, and contained, tobacco (N = 120), the label did not predict actual nicotine content. All waterpipe tobacco labeled as tobacco-free (N = 20) was found to be nicotine-free. Measured pH levels ranged from 3.81 to 5.84 (mean = 5.04, std dev = 0.45; N = 218). Conclusions: There is a need for standardized testing of waterpipe tobacco products for nicotine, pH, and other constituents. Erroneous waterpipe tobacco packaging and labeling is problematic for consumers and supports regulatory efforts to provide accurate constituent labeling.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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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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