an Acetaldehyde-binding product
Acetaldehyde is the most important cigarette smoke carcinogen (1). In 2008, the WHO Expert Group recommended a mandatory reduction of acetaldehyde in cigarette smoke (2). Acetaldehyde concentration in tobacco smoke is almost 1000 times higher than any of the other carcinogens contained therein. Due to its high solubility, acetaldehyde dissolves in saliva during smoking and is distributed throughout the mouth and throat to the oesophagus and gastric mucosa. By this mechanism, smoking significantly increases the risk of cancer in these areas.
Normally, acetaldehyde concentration is not measurable in saliva. During smoking the average acetaldehyde content is approximately 228 micromoles per litre of saliva (10mg/l). If the smoker is simultaneously drinking alcohol, acetaldehyde concentration in saliva is significantly higher at around 360 micromoles per litre (16mg/l) (3). The mutagenic level of acetaldehyde is above approximately 50-100 micromoles, which equates to between 2.2 - 4.4 mg of acetaldehyde per litre (4,5). Thus, active smoking exceeds the acetaldehyde risk tolerance by 2-4 times.
Reducing the Acetaldehyde risk during smoking
The Acetium® lozenge developed by BIOHIT contains L-cysteine and xylitol and is extremely effective in removing acetaldehyde from smokers' saliva. Studies have proven that even a very small amount of L-cysteine (3 mg) removes up to 90 % of the acetaldehyde dissolved in saliva during smoking (6).
Acetaldehyde in cigarette smoke is generated during the combustion process. Acetaldehyde does not improve the taste or smell of cigarettes, and it’s not expected to affect the appeal of smoking cigarettes. However, Acetaldehyde is known to make cigarettes more addictive by increasing the addictive effect of nicotine (7). Acetaldehyde can also bind to certain amino acids in the body, and form so-called harmans. Harmans are believed to directly influence the brain in a similar way to depression medicines, which can improve the mood of the smoker. Tobacco addiction may therefore be strengthened by this mechanism. It is possible to study this hypothesis with the Acetium lozenge.
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Acetium lozenges and cigarette smoke acetaldehyde-related literature:
Haussmann HJ. Use of hazard indices for a theoretical evaluation of cigarette smoke composition. Chem Res Toxicol 2012;25:794−810.
Burns DM, Dybing E, Gray N, Hecht S, Anderson C, Sanner T et al. Mandated lowering of toxicants in cigarette smoke: a description of the World Health Organization Tob Reg proposal. Tob Control 2008;17:132−41.
Salaspuro V, Salaspuro M. Synergistic effect of alcohol drinking and smoking on in vivo acetaldehyde concentration in saliva. Int J Cancer 2004;111:480-483.
Salaspuro M. Interactions of alcohol and tobacco in gastrointestinal cancer. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Mar;27 Suppl 2:135-9.
Seitz HK, Stickel F. Acetaldehyde as an underestimated risk factor for cancer development: role of genes in ethanol metabolism. Genes Nutr 2010;5:121-128.
Salaspuro VJ, Hietala JM, Marvola ML, Salaspuro MP. Eliminating carcinogenic acetaldehyde by cysteine from saliva during smoking. Cancer Epid Biomark Prev 2006;15:146-9.
Talhout R, Opperhuizen A, van Amsterdam JG. Role of acetaldehyde in tobacco smoke addiction. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007 Oct;17(10):627-36.