Microtrace studies black market cigarettes for ABC 7 News

Chuck Goudie and Ann Pistone (2013) Cook County cracks down on black market cigarettes. ABC TV (Chicago, IL).

Aired on: 11/13/2013

Microtrace scientist Skip Palenik was asked to investigate the content of black market cigarettes purchased, from China, for the purposes of circumventing high tax rates in Illinois.

“Good cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves. That’s what they are supposed to mostly be,” said Skip Palenik, senior research microscopist.

But our analysis revealed what is inside the counterfeit Newports from China: up to 95% chopped-up stem fibers.

“It’s simply not much tobacco leaf, which is what cigarettes are supposed to be made of. This is mostly tobacco stems,” said Palenik.

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