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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

State Lab on the lookout to purchase a 'cigarette smoking machine'

The lab needs the machine so it can perform tests as per new EU regulations.

Image: Shutterstock/Ivan Masiuk

THE STATE LABORATORY has issued a tender for the provision of an “analytical cigarette smoking machine”. 

Operating under the aegis of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the State Lab provides services to government agencies for a variety of reasons, including monitoring the quality and safety of Irish food, the sale of counterfeit spirits or the possession of illegal medicines.

In this case, it wants to provide help to the Department of Health to test cigarettes sold in the country. 

It’s been designated as the testing laboratory for Ireland to carry out testing on tobacco products as set out in new European legislation on their manufacture, presentation and sale.

“This legislation sets out maximum emission levels and measurements for tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes placed on the market or manufactured in member States,” a spokesperson told

To support the HSE and Department of Health to adhere to these EU laws, the laboratory is currently setting up a tobacco testing facility.

The spokesperson added: “To do this the Laboratory needs to procure a smoking machine and other laboratory instruments required to test cigarette emissions for tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide.”

So what exactly is a cigarette smoking machine?

It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but while simulating the smoking of a cigarette it must collect various samples of discharge and the cigarette’s contents.

International standards for an analytical cigarette smoking machine say that the test cigarettes must be “sampled” and then “conditioned”. 

The test cigarettes are then smoked on an automatic machine with “simultaneous collection of total particulate matter in a glass fibre filter trap”. Particulate matter is a term for solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air

The system the State Lab wants must have 20 cigarette holders, and contain devices to “control puff volume, duration and frequency”, and “must be capable of smoking a wide range of cigarettes of different lengths and diameters”.

It must also be flexible enough to analyse a variety of brands. 

The machine must then be able to run samples on the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide from the cigarette so the lab can determine if it’s within EU laws.

The State Laboratory also wants a one year warranty to be included with the quoted price, including all the necessary software, hardware, call-outs and parts for the smoking machine. 

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Sean Murray

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