Bull. Spec. CORESTA Congress, Lisbon, 2000, p. 185, S9

Identification of lubricants in spotted cigarettes by GC-MS

Philip Morris Europe, R&D, Neuchatel, Switzerland.
On rare occasions, it may occur that cigarettes become contaminated with some lubricant used in the machinery of the primary or secondary manufacturing processes. In such cases, spots develop on the cigarette paper. For factories confronted with such spotting issues, it is critical to identify within the shortest possible time, the location of the lubricant leak. Identifying the nature of the lubricant causing the spotting can provide very valuable leads as to the location of the leak, since the use of a given lubricant is generally machine-specific.We therefore developed a concept for lubricant identification, based on the analysis of the spotted cigarettes by gas chromatography, coupled to a mass spectrometry detector (GC-MS), with a high-temperature capillary column:- The participating factories prepared a list of the lubricants used on their machinery and their respective location of use and sent a sample of each lubricant to a central R&D laboratory.- A library of GC-MS chromatograms was established for all lubricants.- The identification of oils on spotted cigarettes was performed by comparing the chromatogram obtained for extracts from spotted cigarette paper with the chromatograms of the GC-MS library of lubricants. It appeared that, for most lubricants, the combination of the Total Ion Current (TIC) GC-MS trace and the presence of unique lubricant additives was sufficient for an unambiguous identification. The concept proved to be very effective for the timely resolution of actual cigarette spotting issues.