Original Investigations


, Volume 108, Issue 4, pp 507-511

First online:

Nicotine intake and dependence in Swedish snuff takers

  • Herman HolmAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Kalmar Hospital
  • , Martin J. JarvisAffiliated withICRF Health Behaviour Unit, Institute of Psychiatry
  • , Michael A. H. RussellAffiliated withICRF Health Behaviour Unit, Institute of Psychiatry
  • , Colin FeyerabendAffiliated withPoisons Unit, New Cross Hospital

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Two studies examining nicotine intake in users of Swedish moist oral snuff are reported. Absorption form a single pinch (2 g) in ten users after overnight abstinence was fairly rapid. The increment in plasma nicotine concentrations averaged 9.9 ng/ml (SD 6.5) after 10 min and peaked at 14.5 ng/ml (SD 4.6) shortly after discarding at 30 min. Among groups of habitual snuff takers (n=27) and cigarette smokers (n=35) studied on a day of normal snuffing/smoking, peak blood nicotine levels after use were similar [averaging 36.6 ng/ml (SD 14.4) and 36.7 ng/ml (SD 16.1), respectively], but there was a tendency to higher cotinine levels in the snuffers (399.2 ng/ml versus 306.3 ng/ml). The snuff takers and cigarette smokers reported similar levels of subjective dependence on tobacco. Epidemiological study of Swedish snuff users could clarify whether the cardiovascular risks of tobacco are attributable to nicotine or to other smoke components, as in their case nicotine intake is not accompanied by combustion products.

Key words

Snuff Nicotine Cotinine Dependence