The Miami Herald
April 8, 2001

Canada test can sniff out fake Cuban cigars

                                      TORONTO (EFE) -- A team of Canadian customs service
                                      researchers has invented a technique to detect fake Cuban
                                      cigars, hoping to reduce the number of counterfeit Havanas
                                      entering the country.

                                      A simple test can detect the chemical characteristics
                                      unique to tobacco leaves processed in Cuba that distinguish
                                      them from plants cultivated outside the island.

                                      Researchers used an instrument similar to one used to
                                      detect banned substances in the urine of athletes to isolate
                                      certain acids found in tobacco leaves. It compares the
                                      acidity of the suspect cigars with the certified acidity of
                                      tobacco leaves grown in Cuba.

                                      The procedure also allows customs inspectors to detect
                                      cigars hidden inside other products.

                                      In 2000, Canadian inspectors sent some 1,400 boxes of
                                      suspect cigars to customs service labs to determine
                                      whether or not they were authentic Cuban cigars.