Sunday 31 May 2020

Dutch health bodies pull out of tobacco-dominated monitoring groups

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands is poised to pull out of two committees which advise on measuring nicotine, tar and carbon-monoxide in cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, Trouw said on Monday.

The paper said public health institute RIVM and the Dutch food and product safety board NVWA consider that tobacco firms are too influential on the committees and they should step down.

The RIVM represents the health ministry on one Dutch advisory committee in which eight of the 10 members have tobacco interests. This, the RIVM says, means public safety is being compromised.

This committee represents the Dutch view at an international level as part of ISO, the international body which monitors standardisation.  The second committee has a similar role for e-cigarettes.

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis welcomed the RIVM’s decision. ‘There is something odd about allowing the tobacco industry to have such a prominent role in talking about how we measure what is in cigarettes,’ he said.

‘It is right to break contact with the industry and take a new step towards developing a fair way of measuring,’ he said.

The decision follows the discovery that tobacco firms have for years declared emission levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide to be lower than the actual emission levels.

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