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New advice on vaping: "Less harmful than smoking, but still clear health risks"

Vaping is less harmful than smoking, but there are still obvious health risks associated with it. That is what the Superior Health Council (SHC) says in a new advisory report. Young people and non-smokers are not advised to vape. According to the Council, the e-cigarette should mainly be used to help smokers get rid of tobacco. “In Belgium someone dies every half hour due to tobacco products, that has to be reduced.”

New advice

It had been seven years since the Supreme Health Council had published a new advisory report on e-cigarettes. It once again emphasizes that it is less harmful than smoking, but that there are still health risks. For example, the flavors and aromas in e-cigarettes are usually approved for use in food products, but at the same time their effect on inhalation is still insufficiently known.

According to the SHC, it is therefore necessary to “freeze” the liquids currently on the market. No new ingredients would therefore be allowed.Visit for more information. In the meantime, the effects of inhalation of the e-liquids and ingredients that are already on the market must be investigated. If harmful effects are found, the ingredients should then be withdrawn from the market as soon as possible.

Professor of oncology Filip Lardon

For non-smokers and young people in particular, the advice of the Superior Health Council is clear: just don’t start with it. “We know that young people are starting to vape more and more,” says oncology professor Filip Lardon (UAntwerp) who co-wrote the advice. “We really have to intervene, because many young people make the switch to regular cigarettes via e-cigarette.”

2019 John Keeble

The Council therefore proposes dissuasion campaigns and sober packaging. “So we don’t advocate the same packaging as with regular cigarettes,” says Lardon. “We have to get rid of those flashy colors and fun images, because that only attracts young people.”

There should be no general ban for the council. For example, the use of the e-cigarette can be a tool to help people get rid of the classic cigarette. According to HGR, it is also a good idea to phase out vaping after the switch. The tobacco lobby is looking for a sales market and they are very much behind the spread of these products

Professor of oncology Filip Lardon

At the same time, Lardon argues for more independent research into the possible health effects of e-cigarettes. “The tobacco lobby is looking for a market and they are very much behind the distribution of these products,” he says. “In Belgium, someone dies every half hour due to tobacco products. That has to come down.”