Tobacco is the common name for a group of plants in either the Solanaceae or nightshade family. It is also the term for products produced from the cured leaves of the tobacco plant. There are more than seventy species of tobacco plants, but the most commonly used is N. tabacum. There are thousands of compounds found in tobacco but the most commonly associated compound is nicotine and other alkaloids. Nicotine is the most abundant of the volatile alkaloids in tobacco. There are myriad of effects which occur with the ingestion of nicotine which results from the compound’s ability to act as both a stimulant and depressant for the central and peripheral nervous systems. Nicotine causes a discharge of epinephrine which causes increase heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine can stimulate the brain, increase breathing and constrict peripheral blood vessels.

In addition to nicotine, there are hundreds of other compounds and elements found in tobacco and tobacco smoke of interest to human health including heavy metals, toxic elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, and many others. SPEX CertiPrep can help laboratories with all of their tobacco analysis needs with our comprehensive list of tobacco constituent standards from inorganic elements to persistent pollutants.

Humectants are substances which are hygroscopic in nature used to keep things moist. They are used in tobacco products including cigarettes and vapes. They control moisture, cut tobacco filler and add flavor such as menthols and citrates. There is concern that these humectants also introduce potentially dangerous compounds and elements into the tobacco products. As humectants burn, they release toxic chemicals such as acrolein and formaldehyde. The humectants themselves can also be hazardous if consumed in significant quantities and must be monitored. SPEX CertiPrep is able to help laboratories monitor levels of humectants in their products with our catalog of humectant standards.

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