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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine compounds

12/03/2006

Question:

Is free-base nicotine naturally occuring in all tobacco, and is it the most addictive form of nicotine? If not, what forms of nicotine are naturally occuring in tobacco?

Answer:

Nicotine that is obtained through cigarette smoking is readily absorbed into the system. This process is considered ‘free-basing’. Hookah pipes are also a form of free-basing. On the other hand, nicotine that is absorbed through smokeless (spit) tobacco requires an environment that is dependent on the pH of the mouth. In essence, the amount of nicotine absorbed through ways other than smoking is dependent on a variety of factors.

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Response by:

Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH
Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University