Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Monoamine oxidase inhibitory activity in tobacco smoke varies with tobacco type
  1. Amy J Lewis1,2,
  2. Penelope Truman1,
  3. Matthew R Hosking1,
  4. John H Miller2
  1. 1Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Porirua, New Zealand
  2. 2School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Penelope Truman, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd., 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua, New Zealand; penelope.truman{at}


Background It has been suggested that inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity by components of cigarette smoke may impact on smoking addiction, but it is unclear to what extent the known MAO inhibitors in tobacco smoke cause this inhibition.

Methods MAO inhibitory activity was measured in a series of tobacco particulate matter preparations from different brands of cigarette and loose-leaf tobacco commonly available in New Zealand.

Results When tobacco extracts were diluted to contain a physiologically relevant nicotine concentration of 0.2 μM, all samples tested inhibited MAO-A and MAO-B by between 4% and 12% in a standard assay. Per mg of nicotine, samples from factory-made cigarettes contained significantly less MAO inhibitory activity than did samples from loose-leaf tobacco. When inhibitory activity was calculated on a per mg of tar basis, there was no significant difference between loose-leaf tobaccos and factory-made cigarettes.

Conclusions The present study shows that the ratio of nicotine to MAO inhibitory activity varies depending on the type of tobacco product used. The roll-your-own tobaccos tested delivered more tar and more MAO inhibitory activity per mg of nicotine than the factory-made cigarettes. These findings suggest that smokers of roll-your-own tobacco may experience greater difficulty in stopping smoking.

  • Nicotine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitor
  • tobacco
  • addiction
  • hand-rolled/RYO cigarettes

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding This study was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Research Science and Technology Capability Fund.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.