Smokeless tobacco products such as vapes have gained significant popularity over the last 20 years (7), and it is clear that the effects of these products are primarily unknown. This study examines how the microbial profiles found in smokeless tobacco products, such as vapes, can be used in forensic science. By linking these profiles to their owners, investigators can identify suspects in cases where traditional evidence is lacking. This information could provide valuable assistance in tracking victims and matching perpetrators or victims to crime scenes. Forensic science involves any evidence found at a crime scene that is examined and analyzed to expand on the findings. Forensic science can be defined as applying a range of sciences to criminal and civil laws. Forensic science is crucial in criminal investigation, but it is not known for using microbiology to create a specific biological profile (8). This research could break microbiology into the field of forensic science by using the example of creating microbial footprints to help with other instances in the field. We will analyze the bacteria count in tobacco products and users' microbiomes. Using TSA and Blood agar plates, comparisons between bacteria abundance and diversity in users and non-users will be quantified. We will identify differences in microflora between smokeless tobacco users and non-users. The bacteria produced by users significantly differed from those produced by non-users due to the vapors taken in from the smokeless tobacco product. Vaping growth does not transfer to smokeless tobacco, making it difficult to identify users (2). The microflora on the product can help researchers study its impact on the human microbiome, but forensic profiling is not possible due to the lack of transference from the smokeless tobacco product to the users hands and nose.
Brown, Monayjia; Robbins, Katie; McKinney, Elyse; and Snell, Sydney
"Contrast of Smokeless Tobacco and it's Microbiological Footprint in Users and Non-Users,"
Humboldt Journal of Microbiology: Vol. 23, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/hjm/vol23/iss1/3