Determination of Smuggled Cigarette Characteristics in Brazil and Their Potential Risk to the Human Health

Cleber Pinto da Silva, Thiago Eduardo de Almeida, Rosimara Zittel, Cinthia Eloise Domingues, Tatiana R. O. Stremel, Ivana de Freitas Barbola, Sandro Xavier de Campo


The objective of this study was to determine the different characteristics of tobacco found in thirty brands of smuggled cigarettes in Brazil. Determination of arsenic through atomic absorption spectrometry in graphite oven was carried out and classical methodologies were employed to determine dirtiness, total ash, insoluble ash, humidity, tobacco pH and sidestream smoke pH. The methodology used to quantify arsenic presented quantification limit of 15.0 ng g-1 and detection limit of 4.0 ng g-1 in dry tobacco mass. The recovery of arsenic for the method purpose was 98.2% and relative standard deviation 6.0%. About 56% of the brands were observed to have arsenic concentrations above 20.0 ng g-1, which means nearly twice as much as the arsenic found in cigarettes sold legally in Brazil. Levels above the recommended value for humidity were found in 53% of brands. About 96% of the brands presented total ash content above that indicated by the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia. About 53% of the samples contained levels of insoluble ash above the limit. In 90% of the samples, the smoke was alkaline. In dirtiness tests, 81.2% of the brands presented some kind of contaminant, such as fungi, insect fragments, grass or mites. The characteristics revealed that the consumption of this kind of cigarette can increase risks to consumer health.





Contamination; Smuggling; Cigarettes; Arsenic

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Orbital: The Electronic Journal of Chemistry (e-ISSN 1984-6428) is a quarterly scientific journal published by the Institute of Chemistry of the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Orbital is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal.