RIVM: cigarettes less attractive with dark color or ban on sugars Yesterday, 20:16 in Binnenland According to RIVM, the measures can contribute to the goal of the National Prevention Agreement.

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An impression of the RIVM of the ‘new cigarettes’
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The RIVM says that cigarettes can be made less attractive and less addictive by giving them a dark color or by removing certain ingredients such as sugars and flavorings from cigarettes. This is evident from a literature study by the institute.

According to RIVM, the measures can contribute to the goal of the National Prevention Agreement. It states that children will no longer smoke at all in 2040 and that a maximum of 5 percent of Dutch people over the age of 18 will still smoke.

A dark appearance of cigarettes would require a change in the law. Now it is laid down in law that a cigarette must be white, but the RIVM says that a dark color is a better choice to reduce the attractiveness.

“White cigarettes are also seen as a safer product,” the researchers write. “Dark colors, on the other hand, are associated with strong flavor and higher harmfulness.” Another option is a mandatory warning on the cigarette.

Ban on cigarette filters

Another idea that emerges from the study is a ban on cigarette filters to avoid giving the impression that cigarettes are less harmful. A total ban can also protect the environment, because filters consist of poorly degradable plastics. In addition, substances such as nicotine and tar that remain in the filter during smoking also end up in the soil and in the water.

The RIVM also sees a benefit in a reduction in the nicotine content, from 16 milligrams per gram of tobacco to 0.4 milligrams. However, according to the researchers, it should be made clear that the cigarettes are not less harmful, but only that they are less addictive.

And banning substances that make smoking more attractive, such as sugars and flavourings, should also be considered as far as RIVM is concerned. Those substances make smoking “more appealing to novice smokers and more difficult for established smokers to quit,” the institute said.


In addition, RIVM has drawn up a list of substances in tobacco products and e-cigarettes that should be banned on behalf of the Ministry of Health. RIVM uses already existing lists from Belgium and Germany as a basis.

The list includes substances that give users the idea that smoking and vaping are good for health, such as vitamins. Nicotine salts are also on the list. They are common in e-cigarettes. The cabinet ultimately decides whether the list will also become law.

State Secretary Van Ooijen (Public Health) writes in a letter to the House that he uses the research in “the further development of tobacco control policy”. He does point out that lowering the nicotine level is legally impossible, because this is done through European rules.

The European Commission is expected to present a proposal in 2024 to review tobacco regulations. “I will include the RIVM report and recommendations in the Dutch response to this review,” he writes.

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