Health minister Martin van Rijn has no plans to ban the sale of ‘shisha pens’, a mini water pipe which mimics the effect of smoking and which is popular among school children.
While the tubes do not contain nicotine or tobacco, they do contain glycerol and other chemicals which are inhaled and may irritate the lungs. For most users this results in a dry mouth and cough, the RIVM said.
Last month, addiction experts at the Trimbos institute said the use of shisha pens is a worrying development because of the potential health risks and the fact that youngsters become used to the idea of smoking and inhaling smoke.
The pens can be bought online and in tobacconists. While the Dutch importer has recommended they are not sold to the under 16s, this is not compulsory.
The RIVM said the long-term health impact of the fake cigarettes still needs to be assessed.
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