Study: ICP-MS determination of lead isotope ratios in legal and counterfeit cigarette tobacco samples
An article in Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies states:
A method for the determination of Pb isotope ratios (IR) in cigarette tobacco by quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Q-ICP-MS) has been developed and applied to tobacco samples from genuine and counterfeit cigarettes obtained in the USA. The IR 207Pb/206Pb, 208Pb/206Pb, 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb were measured using a Q-ICP-MS instrument. Two certified reference materials, grown in the USA and Bulgaria, were also analysed for comparison with the tobacco samples, as were tobacco samples from cigarettes obtained in Pakistan and China. The precision of the results was sufficient to distinguish between the counterfeit and genuine USA cigarettes. All of the genuine cigarettes and both reference materials, grown in different regions, were statistically distinct based on the measured ratios. The counterfeit cigarettes were indistinguishable from the reference material grown in Bulgaria. The technique shows promise as a method for identifying counterfeit cigarettes, possibly determining the source region.