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Everyday Toxicology II: Tobacco

  • Philip C. Burcham
Chapter

Abstract

The chemical complexity of tobacco combustion ensures smokers daily inhale a toxic cocktail comprising thousands of xenobiotics. Unsurprisingly, many health disorders accompany this habit including various cancers plus noncancer conditions such as emphysema. The smoke constituents causing lung injury have received much attention, with special interest focussed on carcinogens that drive the induction and progression of lung cancer. Major carcinogens within tobacco smoke include the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, aromatic amines and volatile organics such as 1,3-butadiene. Due to their strong carcinogenic potency, the tobacco-specific nitrosamines NNN and NNK are of particular concern. Both form via nitrosation of nicotine, the neurostimulatory Nicotiana constituent that confers the highly addictive properties upon cigarette smoke. As with other tobacco smoke carcinogens, NNN and NNK undergo CYP-catalysed bioactivation to DNA-damaging metabolites. DNA adducts formed by these and other noxious metabolites drive the accumulation of mutations in growth regulatory genes within the smokers’ lung.

Keywords

Aromatic amines Benzo[a]pyrene 1,3-Butadiene Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Free radicals Irritants Lung cancer Metals Microarrays Tobacco production Tobacco combustion Tar 

Going Further

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip C. Burcham
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine and PharmacologyThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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