The power of fingerprinting of volatiles constituents in fighting illicit and flavoured tobacco products
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European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Geel, Belgium
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A101
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Manufacturers of tobacco products aim to attribute dedicated, by the consumer recognisable characteristics to their products. Volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, are to a large degree determining the sensorial identity of the product. Their composition is influenced by both the tobacco blend and additives added to the product during production. However, for protecting the product identity, manufacturers do not disclose their composition.
Producers of illicit tobacco products will hardly be able to mimic the sensorial characteristics of genuine products. This fact offered the opportunity to discriminate genuine from counterfeit tobacco products by chemical analysis of the volatile and semi-volatile constituents, applying gas chromatography high resolution time of flight mass spectrometry. The developed multivariate statistical models allowed to distinguish branded cigarettes from each other, and from counterfeit products.
Chemical analysis of the volatile and semi-volatile fraction of tobacco products offers also the possibility to identify sensorial active substances at concentrations, which might attribute a characterising flavour to the respective tobacco product. Respective models were developed at the JRC for discriminating cigarettes with characterising flavours from cigarettes currently on the EU market. The chemical analysis of the cigarettes has shown to be economic and reliable, leading to models with high accuracy. In this sense, it can be used either as a screening tool in monitoring exercises, and/or for confirmation of characteristics identified by a sensory panel.
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