Tobacco control

Currently, tobacco consumption is the single leading preventable cause of death. It results in premature death of millions of people a year, of which more than five million are users or ex users of tobacco and more than 600 000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco control refers to a range of comprehensive measures to protect people from the effects of tobacco consumption and second-hand tobacco smoke. WHO CC Tobacco develops validated measurement methods and techniques.

Measuring tobacco contents and emissions

Cigarettes, the single most hazardous consumer product, are not regulated as a product consistent with that hazard. The need for tobacco product regulation is recognised by the WHO. Measuring harmful substances and research of the composition of tobacco products is required. RIVM analyses tobacco substances by using a smoking robot, which simulates a smoker. RIVM monitors whether the quantities of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes are in line with the quantities stated on the packet and works on new methods to measure harmful substances in cigarette smoke.

As tobacco smoke contains more than 6,000 substances, RIVM confined research to the following substances:

Cigarette substances

  1. Aldehydes: formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein
  2. Volatile organic hydrocarbons: benzene, 1,4-butadiene
  3. Benzo-a-pyrene
  4. Tobacco-related nitrosamines

Tobacco substances

  1. Nicotine
  2. Humidifiers: glycerol, propylene glycol
  3. Ammonia