Biomarkers of exposure among adult smokeless tobacco users in the population assessment of Tobacco and health study (WAVE 1, 2013-2014)

Yu Ching Cheng, Carolyn M. Reyes-Guzman, Carol H. Christensen, Brian L. Rostron, Kathryn C. Edwards, Lanqing Wang, Jun Feng, Jeffery M. Jarrett, Cynthia D. Ward, Baoyun Xia, Heather L. Kimmel, Kevin Conway, Carmine Leggett, Kristie Taylor, Charlie Lawrence, Ray Niaura, Mark J. Travers, Andrew Hyland, Stephen S. Hecht, Dorothy K. HatsukamiMaciej L. Goniewicz, Nicolette Borek, Benjamin C. Blount, Dana M. van Bemmel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Monitoring population-level toxicant exposures from smokeless tobacco (SLT) use is important for assessing population health risks due to product use. In this study, we assessed tobacco biomarkers of exposure (BOE) among SLT users from the Wave 1 (2013-2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Methods: Urinary biospecimens were collected from adults ages 18 and older. Biomarkers of nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), volatile organic compounds (VOC), metals, and inorganic arsenic were analyzed and reported among exclusive current established SLT users in comparison with exclusive current established cigarette smokers, dual SLT and cigarette users, and never tobacco users. Results: In general, SLT users (n ¼ 448) have significantly higher concentrations of BOE to nicotine, TSNAs, and PAHs compared with never tobacco users; significant dose-response relationships between frequency of SLT use and biomarker concentrations were also reported among exclusive SLT daily users. Exclusive SLT daily users have higher geometric mean concentrations of total nicotine equivalent-2 (TNE2) and TSNAs than exclusive cigarette daily smokers. In contrast, geometric mean concentrations of PAHs and VOCs were substantially lower among exclusive SLT daily users than exclusive cigarette daily smokers. Conclusions: Our study produced a comprehensive assessment of SLT product use and 52 biomarkers of tobacco exposure. Compared with cigarette smokers, SLT users experience greater concentrations of some tobacco toxicants, including nicotine and TSNAs. Impact: Our data add information on the risk assessment of exposure to SLT-related toxicants. High levels of harmful constituents in SLT remain a health concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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