Star Scientific (NASDAQ:CIGX), a maker of tobacco and technologies used to reduce its harm, reported on Tuesday the successful development of a moist snuff tobacco that has much lower levels of carcinogens than others on the market.

With only 20 parts per billion of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, recognized by scientists worldwide as one of the most powerful cancer-causing agents in its leaf and smoke, the new tobacco is 99% lower than the levels found in conventional American moist snuffs such as Copenhagen and Skoal and 90% less than levels found in current “snus” products.

Moist snuff products account for the highest portion of the smokeless tobacco industry, some 73%, and have been growing at an annual rate of 4% to 7% over the past five years.

“We knew we could make a snuff product that had hundreds of times lower toxin levels, since we already had pioneered this achievement with our BDL dissolvable smokeless products,” said Star Scientific Chairman Paul L. Perito. “We are proud of our continued leadership in innovation -- it is clear that the means are available for all tobacco companies to reduce well-established toxins in the tobacco they use in manufacturing.”

Star plans on submitting an application in the first-quarter of this year for approval to market Stonewall Moist-BDL as a modified-risk tobacco product under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The Glen Allen, Va-based company believes the application would be the first of its kind for a moist-snuff tobacco product.

In June, Star submitted modified-risk applications to the Food & Drug Administration for dissolvable smokeless products. The approval process is expected to take 260 days or less after filing.