Tobacco smoke contains more than 6,000 different chemical substances, causing nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the Netherlands.

Nicotine is addictive and many other substances in tobacco smoke are toxic or carcinogenic. In the Netherlands, nearly 20,000 people die each year from the effects of smoking, particularly from lung cancer, heart attack and stroke, pulmonary emphysema and COPD, and oral, tongue, oesophageal, gastric and bladder cancer. On average, smokers live 5 to 10 years shorter than non-smokers.

The World Health Organization recommends reducing the quantities of certain toxic substances in smoke. The composition of tobacco smoke is determined by the type of tobacco and by the product design, such as the type of filter, paper and additives used.

RIVM develops methods to measure contents and emissions and advises on upper limits of these contents and emissions using risk assessment.