The use of smokeless tobacco appears to be a socially acceptable behavior among certain ethnic and cultural groups in developing and developed countries. Some native groups in the Northwest Territories have traditionally used smokeless tobacco. With the visits of the merchant supply ships to the Northwest Territories in the early 1950's, a wider commercial variety of smokeless tobacco began to be used. Of great concern is the generation of Canadian children and adolescents who start this habit and become addicted to smokeless tobacco during their primary and secondary school years. Smokeless tobacco is reemerging as a popular form of tobacco among children and adolescents in Canada, the United States (including Alaska), Scandinavia and Britain. Chemical analysis of samples of smokeless tobacco from six countries has revealed that moist snuff obtained in 1985, from Gjoa Haven, Northwest Territories (imported from the United States) had the highest levels of cancer causing tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) of 228,400 and 240,100 parts per billion. If these levels were found in any other consumer product today, it would be banned from the marketplace. Because of their known carcinogenicity, the United States Department of Agriculture and Federal Food and Drug Administration have set up strict tolerance levels for human exposure to these chemicals and they prohibit the sale of beer, bacon or baby bottle nipples that contain levels greater than 10 parts per billion. TSNA concentrations in snuff exceed the levels of nitrosamines in other consumer products by over one hundredfold. During snuff dipping or chewing tobacco, the nitrosation process continues within the mouth.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
From: Fortuine, Robert et al. 1993. The Health of the Inuit of North America: A Bibliography from the Earliest Times through 1990. University of Alaska Anchorage. Citation number 2368.