Heavy metal content of a duty-paid illicit cigarette: Analysis using both GFAAS and ICP-OES
Laura Jouhning School of Chemistry, University of Lincoln
Dr Mark Baron Principal Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry, University of Lincoln
There is a high level of smuggling and cross border shopping in the UK, however, there are many dangerous risks associated with illicit cigarette tobacco, the main one being the risk they pose to health with many containing very high levels of toxins. The study developed looked in depth at the heavy metals within legal and illicit cigarette tobacco to determine whether in the UK illicit brands being smoked do pose more risk to public health. The level of 10 heavy metals were examined within a legal brand of cigarette tobacco (Chesterfield) and an illicit brand of cigarette tobacco (Capital) using ICP-OES. The levels of Mn, Fe, Ni, AI, As, Cd, Pb were higher in the illicit cigarette brand with As and Cd showing statistically significant differences (As - P = 0.002, Cd - P = 0.001).
Reference values have been produced in the US as a recommended legal range, with both As and Cd in the illicit brand exceeding this. As two of the most carcinogenic heavy metals to humans (Cd and As) were significantly higher within the illicit cigarette tobacco, a more dynamic approach is need to stop the smuggling and selling of illicit cigarettes within the UK.
Laura Jouhning is a final year undergraduate student at the University of Lincoln studying Forensic Science. The piece of work being presented was completed as part of her final year research project.
Dr Mark Baron is a Principal Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Lincoln. His research interests include developing new analytical methods for novel psychoactive substances and using markers to detect fuel fraud and smuggling.