Calls for new European method to measure cigarette harm

Europe should use ‘more realistic’ measures to assess the health hazards of smoking, according to caretaker Dutch health secretary Martin van Rijn.

According to reports on Friday, he has asked the European Commission to introduce a new system of measurement.

Cigarettes contain filters which should filter out some tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide. Currently a method called ISO is used to ensure European cigarettes are within legal limits.

But, reports the NOS broadcaster, Van Rijn supports the Canadian Intense Method, which mimics smokers’ actions in squeezing cigarettes with their fingers and lips to assess the harmful substances really getting through.

He has asked the RIVM public health body to investigate the difference in measurements the two methods produce. He told ANP: ‘It seems the current measured values greatly underestimate what people actually inhale. We need to make a change as soon as possible.’