The small holes in cigarette filters are doing more harm than good, the government institute for health and the environment RIVM said on Friday.
Although the holes should in theory lessen the amount of damaging chemicals a smoker inhales, they actually compensate for the lack of nicotine by sucking harder on their cigarettes or smoking more, the RIVM says.
This adds to the amount of chemicals which the smoker inhales, the RIVM says in its report, a summary of various research papers into the effects of the filter.
The RIVM’s warning comes at a time when lawyer Bénédicte Ficq and a group of smokers are preparing to take big tobacco producers to court on the ground of ‘aggravated assault resulting in death’.
They say tobacco firms have lied to smokers about the damaging side effects of their addiction, particularly by using cigarettes that give false readings in test results through the use of the tiny ventilation holes in filters.
‘Now even the government is saying how dangerous cigarettes are. As far as I’m concerned that means they should be banned,’ Ficq told the the AD.
Junior health minister Martin van Rijn will use the data to see if more needs to be done to discourage smoking, a health ministry spokesperson told the AD.