Snuff is a tobacco product which contains the chemical stimulant, nicotine. It is a product made from grounded tobacco leaves and is an example of smokeless tobacco. Snuff is tobacco in the form of powder that can be inhaled or placed against the gums. This research reports the results of the concentrations of heavy metal ions in locally-grounded snuff products sold in different markets in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The snuff samples were analyzed for heavy metal concentrations using Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The mean metal concentrations in all the markets were1.604 ± 1.264ppm, 0.352 ± 0.203ppm, 0.187 ± 0.106ppm, 1.188 ± 0.872ppm and 2.150 ± 0.468 ppm for Pb, Cd, Cu, Ni and Cr respectively. The metal concentration levels in different markets were Pb>Ni>Cr>Cd>Cu for Opolo market, Cr>Pb>Ni>Cd>Cu for Kpansia market, Cr>Pb>Ni>Cd>Cu for Swali market and Pb>Cr>Ni>Cd>Cu for Tombia market.The resulting levels of the metals were compared to the World Health Organization (WHO) permissible limits and all the metal ions were above the provisional tolerable intake limits except copper ion. The results of this study indicate that the snuff products contain heavy metals which are toxic to the users.The findings can be used to raise public awareness about the safety and health effects of snuff, which is clearly a source of oral exposure to toxic heavy metals.
Keywords : Snuff, heavy metal, Yenagoa, health effects, WHO.