Citizens' Issues
There could be nicotine in your herbal toothpaste

A study by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research attached to Delhi University has found that leading toothpaste and toothpowder brands use nicotine; a few companies deny such usage and some are tight-lipped

If you have given up cigarettes and chewing tobacco and are feeling glad that you will not go crazy and chew your bathroom for want of your daily nicotine fix, you might have to give your ‘herbal’ green toothpaste (or toothpowder) a cold, hard look. A recent study has proven that the ‘freshness’ induced after brushing with such herbal brands could be because of the nicotine present in the mixture.

Findings by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences—a research affiliate of University of Delhi, state that leading toothpaste and tooth powders of brands such as Colgate Herbal and Neem Tulsi, Dabur Red, VICCO, Himalaya and Alka Dantamanjan were found to have nicotine in them. These results are going viral all over the blogosphere and of course, social networking site Twitter.

One such article on Nationalist News Network says, “According to the study (mentioned above), popular brands like Colgate Herbal and Neem Tulsi were found to contain 10mg-18mg of nicotine in each standard tube. The amount of nicotine in (a tube of) toothpaste is equivalent to the amount of nicotine present in about five to nine cigarettes.

“Tooth powders like Dabur Red, one of the oldest brands in India, VICCO, Alka Dantamanjan and Payokil were also found to contain nicotine. Payokil contained the highest amount (16mg) of nicotine, which is equal to the amount of nicotine present in about eight cigarettes,” the article adds.

In the study, 24 brands of toothpaste and toothpowder were tested, of which seven were found to be containing significant amount of nicotine.

Medical practitioners say, surprisingly, brands which claim to be ‘herbal’, often used by heath-conscious people, were found to contain nicotine. This is dangerous as people would be at the receiving end of being exposed to harmful diseases.

Experts say that this is not only harmful, but also a breach of law as according to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, nicotine cannot be added to non-tobacco products such as toothpaste and toothpowders. Nicotine in tobacco leads to various harmful diseases such as cancer (tobacco is a carcinogenic). In fact, even chewing nicotine gum can cause dentures to loosen, create damage to dental enamel and produce stains on teeth. As a chemical, nicotine is highly addictive (even more than heroin) and if children use a such a toothpaste or toothpowder liberally dosed with nicotine, they can develop addiction at a very early age.

“The ill-effects of nicotine, whether used in a cigarette or toothpaste or anything else, are still the same and equally harmful,” an oncologist from a Mumbai-based hospital told Moneylife, preferring anonymity.

Other major brands that were found to be using nicotine include RA Thermoseal Sensoform, Stoline, Musaka Gul, and Unadent.

But a number of these companies have denied using nicotine in their brands.
Refuting the claim, a Himalaya spokesperson told Moneylife, “We do not add nicotine to our toothpaste. Hence, there is no possibility of finding it in our formulation. Tests conducted on the same batch of toothpaste have confirmed that our product is absolutely nicotine-free. The product was analysed for the presence of nicotine using highly sensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) technique. The results showed that nicotine was not detected (method detection limit was for 1 parts per million or ppm).”

A spokesperson from Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd also denied the usage of nicotine. He told Moneylife, “We do not use nicotine or any tobacco substance as an ingredient in any of our products. We have contacted Professor SS Agarwal of the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research to learn the details of his research.”

Even VICCO Labs denied the claim. Sanjeev Pendharkar, director, VICCO told Moneylife that, "The report from Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research referred in the news is wrong. The matter was also investigated by the officers of Food and Drugs Administration. The officers did not find anything adverse and the samples drawn by them also did not show presence of nicotine. On our part, we tested samples of Vicco Vajradanti Paste and Powder and the raw materials used in them. We found that both finished products and raw materials did not show presence of nicotine."

An e-mail query sent by Moneylife to Dabur remained unanswered till the time of publishing this story.



Prakash Bhate

6 years ago

Nicotine is not reported to be carcinogenic as per the Merck Index, a widely used handbook by chemists. It is the tar that is produced and inhaled when a cigarette is smoked that is carcinogenic. Nicotine is reported to be highly toxic. Symptoms include extreme nausea, vomiting, evacuation of bowel and bladder, mental confusion, twitching, convulsions. Seriously, how many people who use herbal toothpastes suffer every morning from these symptoms?


6 years ago

The kind of attitudes and approaches some large corporates have in this day and age and have historically had towards ensuring that first they create a health problem and then create a situation where that health problem has to be resolved is nothing new. It has always been suspected that toothpastes have been laced with habit forming substances or even with substances which were simply not good for humans. (Example: Hindustan Levers, when it should have known better, used to actively promote a brand called SIGNAL which had 'stripes' (therefore attractive to children) and container. . . fluoride.)

Are people getting addicted to toothpaste? Is it because of nicotine or minty flavours or simply sugar?

Chances are - yes, And those extra large diameter dispensing holes aren't helping, either, in reducing the risk.

Thank you for another informative article/vm

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

There must be a health enquiry about such products but as the machinery is too slow or could be bought ,how is a citizen to protect from such usage of nicotine etc.These companies must give answer that why they had misled the public in name of Green etc.
The companies concerned must declare for how long this products has been used and WHY???
Can anyone tell why we are so arrogant to mislead the public in name of health and misguide them.
Is it not the sqme as Gutka and Paan Praag being sold for health whereas it is a carcinogenic product.
Can we Indians could earn by honesty???


6 years ago

Can you provide names of the brands that do NOT contain nicotine? Isn't that info more useful?

Vikas Gupta

6 years ago

Its really shocking to read Nicotine presence in Leading Brands. Its like cheating & playing with Health of ur consumers.These companies should be prosecuted & punished heavily.

New telecom policy aims at doing away with roaming fees

The draft telecom policy which was unveiled by telecom minister Kapil Sibal today recommends free roaming within the country, number portability anywhere in India and ‘one-nation-one-licence’ regime, among others

New Delhi: Mobile telephone users may be able to make calls without paying roaming charges and change operator outside their circle while retaining the same number, if draft New Telecom Policy (NTP) is implemented, reports PTI.

Declaring an agenda of 'One Nation-One Licence’ across services, the NTP endeavours to create an investor-friendly environment by attracting additional investments in the sector, which has been marred by controversies relating to second generation (2G) scam in the recent past.

“Moving forward, we aim to create One Nation-One Licence across services and service areas. We aim to achieve One Nation-Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation-Free Roaming,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said while unveiling the draft New Telecom Policy 2011.

He, however, did not give any time line for implementing it and said this would be achieved as “we move forward”.

“In achieving the goal of NTP 2011 revenue generation will play a secondary role,” he said adding that the government would strive to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural India.

Highlighting the vision ‘Broadband on Demand’, the NTP 2011 envisages leveraging telecom infrastructure to enable all citizens and businesses, both in rural and urban area to participate in the internet and web economy thereby ensuring equitable and inclusive development across the nation.

“We will seek TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendations on new licences, migration to new licences and other policy recommendations,” Mr Sibal said adding that the government would frame an appropriate policy for players to exit from the sector.

In the wake of the 2G scam, the minister said spectrum allocation would be delinked from licences and radio waves would be made available at market-determined prices.


Domestic car sales dip 1.8%; bike sales up 19.92%: SIAM

Domestic passenger car sales declined by 1.8% to 1,65,925 units while motorcycle sales in the country grew by 19.92% during the month to 9,33,465 units last month, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers

New Delhi: Domestic passenger car sales declined by 1.8% to 1,65,925 units in September 2011, from 1,68,959 units in the same month last year, reports PTI.

According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today, motorcycle sales in the country grew by 19.92% during the month to 9,33,465 units from 7,78,351 units in the corresponding month last year.

Total two-wheeler sales grew by 24.27% to 12,33,283 units last month from 9,92,383 units in September, 2010, as per the data.

Sales of commercial vehicles grew by 18.04% to 70,634 units in the month under review from 59,836 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a growth of 19.39% to 15,71,342 units in September, as against 13,16,118 units in the same month last year, it added.


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