The group of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) includes four different nitrosamines, NNN (N-nitrosonornicotine), NNK (4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone), NAB (1-nitrosoanabasine) and NAT (N-nitrosoanatabine).
TSNAs are not present in green tobacco but can be formed under certain unfavorable conditions during the drying, processing and storage of the tobacco.
NNN and NNK are considered to be the toxicologically most relevant tobacco-specific nitrosamines. The two tobacco-specific nitrosamines NNN and NNK have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by WHO.
Swedish snus and foodstuffs
TSNA stands for tobacco-specific nitrosamines and are only present in tobacco, not in foodstuffs. No comparison to foodstuffs can be made.
The Swedish Food Agency has introduced a limit value for the content of the sum of the two tobacco specific nitrosamines NNN and NNK in snus and chewing tobacco.
Over time, NNN and NNK have been reduced in Swedish snus from Swedish Match. When GOTHIATEKwas introduced, the standard comprised a limit for the sum of four tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA), that in 2012 was replaced with a limit for the sum of only two, NNN and NNK, equal to the limit recommended by WHO. In 2016 the GOTHIATEK limit for NNN+NNK was further lowered.
The current limit value for NNN+NNK in the GOTHIATEK-standard is lower than both the limit value regulated by the Swedish Food Agency and the limit value recommended by WHO for smokeless tobacco products.