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Updated May 15, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNAs) are known to be some of the most potent carcinogens present in smokeless tobacco, snuff and tobacco smoke.

TSNAs consist of four chemical compounds:
  • N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN)
  • 4-methyl-N-nitrosamino-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)
  • N-nitrosoanatabine (NAT)
  • N-nitrosoanabasine (NAB)
Two of these chemical compounds, NNN and NNK, have been classifed as Group 2B carcinogens.

See also: An In Depth Look at TSNAs

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