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Large scale usage of tobacco causes a lot of health troubles in human. Various formulations of tobacco are extensively used by the people particularly in developing world. Besides several toxic tobacco constituents some metals and metalloids are also believed to pose health risks. This paper describes inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometric (ICP-MS) quantification of some important metals and metalloids in various brands of smoked, sniffed, dipped and chewed tobacco products.


A microwave-assisted digestion method was used for sample preparation. The method was validated by analyzing a certified reference material. Percentage relative standard deviation (% R.S.D.) between recovered and certified values was < 5.8. Linearity value for calibration curve of each metal was 1 > r > 0.999. Improved limits of detection (LODs) were in range of ng/L for all elements. Fe, Al and Mn were found to be in the highest concentration in all types of tobacco products, while Zn, Cu, Ni and Cr were below the average concentration of 40 μg/g, and Pb, Co, As, Se and Cd were below 5 μg/g. All elements, apart from Pb, were high in concentration in dipping tobacco in comparison to other tobacco products. Generally, the order of all elemental concentration can be expressed in different tobacco products as chewing < smoked < sniffing < dipping. However, smoked and sniffing will interchange their position in the case of Mn, Cu, Se and Cd. Multivariate statistical analyses were also performed to evaluate the correlation and variations among tobacco products.


The present study highlights the quantification of some important metals and metalloids in a wide spectrum of tobacco formulations. The outcome of this study would be beneficial for health authorities and individuals.

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