What we do

The Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment Resource (NicoTAR) at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center provides comprehensive testing of tobacco and nicotine-containing products to determine the concentration of nicotine and known carcinogens. In addition to product testing, NicoTAR provides analysis of biomarkers of tobacco use and exposure to second- and third-hand tobacco smoke, along with monitoring of indoor air pollution with tobacco products. The NicoTAR facility is equipped with systems for controlled exposure of cells and living tissue to tobacco smoke and e-cigarette emissions. Facility personnel also provide NicoTAR services such as user training, data acquisition, processing and interpretation.

Tools and equipment

NicoTAR lab equipment

Product testing

  • Smoking machines and ENDS aerosol generators
  • Gas Chromatography (GC)
    • Quantitative Time of Flight (QTOF)
    • Mass Spectroscopy (MS)
    • Nitrogen Phosphorus Detector (NPD)
  • pH and density meters
  • Ventilation and pressure drop testers
  • Paper porosity testers
  • Tobacco moisture analyzer
  • Tobacco conditioner
Roswell Park Mobile Science Lab

Human studies

  • Biomarker analysis
  • Mobile laboratory
  • Negative pressure exposure rooms
  • Spirometer
  • Airway inflammation monitor
  • Smokerlyzer
  • Vital sign monitors
  • CO monitors
  • Puffing topography monitors
NicoTAR lab equipment

In vitro toxicity

  • Air liquid interface system
  • 96-well plate reader 200-1000nm
  • 96-well plate washer
  • Live cell and compound microscopes
  • Cell counter
  • Repository of oral and pulmonary cell lines
GilAir Machine

Environmental monitoring

  • Personal aerosol monitors (total inhalable fraction, respirable fraction or PM2.5 and PM10)
  • Particle counters
  • Indoor air quality monitors
  • Sorbent tube sampling pumps
  • Personal environmental monitors
  • Primary flow calibrators
  • Micro balances

Services and fees

NicoTAR services can be provided by facility personnel:

  • Assistance in the selection, design and execution of NicoTAR experiments
  • Assistance in processing and interpreting NicoTAR data
  • Training and instruction for all users

NicoTAR provides comprehensive testing of all tobacco products including:

  • Electronic cigarettes (e-liquids and aerosol)
  • Combustible tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, shisha, mainstream, sidestream and secondhand smoke etc.)
  • Heat-not-Burn (HnB) products (tobacco plug and emissions)
  • Smokeless tobacco products (chewing, snus, snuff etc.)
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products (patches, gums, lozenges, etc.)
  • Oral Nicotine Products (ONP), (pouches, lozenges etc)
  • Synthetic nicotine products (e-liquids, ONP etc.)

Product testing

  • Nicotine Type (Freebase vs Salt) and Quantification
  • Solvent Identification and Quantification
  • Flavoring Identification and Quantification
  • Tobacco Specific Nitrosamine (TSNA) Quantification
  • THC and CBD Potency in Cannabis Products
  • Heavy Metal Quantification
  • pH and Density Testing
  • Heavy Metal Testing
  • Tobacco Moisture
  • Cigarette Ventilation and Pressure Drop
  • Cigarette Paper Porosity

Human studies

  • Nicotine, Cotinine and 3OH-Cotinine Quantification (Urine, Plasma, Serum, Saliva, biomarkers of nicotine exposure)
  • NNAL Quantification (Urine, biomarker of tobacco exposure)
  • THC/THCA and CBD/CBDA Quantification (biomarker of cannabis use)
  • Randomized Clinical Trials (product switching, smoking cessation)
  • Smoking/Vaping Sessions in Controlled Environment
  • Carbon Monoxide Quantification (exhaled breath, verification of smoking status)

In vitro toxicity

  • Cytokine and Chemokine Quantification
  • Cell Cytotoxicity Testing

Environmental monitoring

  • Markers of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Particulate Measurements (Total Inhalable, Respirable or PM2.5 and PM10)
  • Quantification of Smoke/Aerosol in Air (Secondhand Smoke)
  • Quantification of Deposited Nicotine (Thirdhand Smoke)

Hourly charge rates for service and usage

Please contact Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, at Maciej.Goniewicz@RoswellPark.org for detailed charge rates. Investigators are billed on a monthly basis for equipment use and services provided.

Scheduling and ordering

Investigators should contact Dr. Goniewicz at Maciej.Goniewicz@RoswellPark.org before submitting any samples, to discuss the assay required and timeframe for competition of requested tasks.

Investigators should contact Noel Leigh at Noel.Leigh@RoswellPark.org for scheduling information, including use of the GC-NPD, GC-MS, GC-QTOF, LC-MS/MS, AAS, smoking rooms, smoking machines or workstations.

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Location and hours

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
NicoTAR Shared Resource
Gratwick Basic Science Building, Room 4942
Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, New York 14263

Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The services provided by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment Resource Facility (NicoTAR) are intended solely for research purposes and are not intended or certified by the New York State Department of Health for use in clinical diagnostic testing or treatment, including but not limited to patient education. Roswell Park shall have no liability for claims by, or damages of any kind whatsoever to, a user of these NicoTAR Facility Services for a decision or action taken in reliance on the information provided. Such damages include, without limitation, direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages.

The Nicotine and Tobacco Product Assessment Resource at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (NicoTAR) provides instrumentation and services to investigators requiring nicotine and tobacco product testing, biochemical verification of smoking status and assessment of tobacco smoke exposure.

Major instrumentation includes Agilent 6495C Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer  with1290 Infinity II ultra-high performance liquid chromatography system, Sciex 6500+ Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer with Shimadzu Nextera X2 ultra-high performance liquid chromatography system, Waters Xevo TQ-XS Tandem Mass Spectrometer with ACQUITY UPLC I-Class liquid chromatography system, Agilent gas GC with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (QTOF, 7250), Agilent gas chromatograph (GC, 7890B) with an Agilent mass spectrometer (MS, 5977A), Agilent gas GC with a nitrogen-phosphorus detector (NPD) and a PerkinElmer PinAAcle  atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS, 900z). This instrumentation is capable of a wide variety of nicotine and tobacco product testing and tobacco-specific biomarker assessment. Application examples include determination of nicotine, carcinogens, and flavorings in tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, as well as tobacco-specific biomarkers in biofluids.

NicoTAR data processing software includes Open Lab CDS, SPSS, R, Statistica and GraphPad. A variety of laboratory equipment is available for sample preparation and storage (e.g., smoking machines, puffing monitors, cigarette ventilation and pressure drop tester, cigarette paper porosity tester, air-liquid, etc.) In addition to the facility directors and technicians, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center provides additional staff who aid in facility maintenance and repair (mechanical, cryogenic, electronic, IT).

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  • Leigh et al. Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines (TSNA) in Heated Tobacco Product IQOS. Tob Control. 2018;27(Suppl 1):37-8.
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