Superior Health Council urges general ban on cigarette filters
The Superior Health Council has recommended a general ban on cigarette filters. Studies shows that the health benefits are limited and do not outweigh the environmental impact.
In Belgium, 14,000 people die each year from the consequences of smoking. Of the one in five Belgians who smoke, 65 per cent choose cigarettes with a filter under the false impression that they are healthier.
"There are tiny holes in a filter, which suck in air so the nicotine is diluted, and the measurements show that the filter works," says cancer specialist Filip Lardon. "However, they are placed in such a way that a smoker covers them with their fingers." He says measurements are falsified by the tobacco lobby.
Cigarette filters create delayed and incomplete combustion, which, like wood-burning stoves, release more carcinogens. Researchers have found more harmful substances in the blood of smokers who uses filters.
There is also an impact on the climate. Cigarette butts make up 41 per cent of litter in Flanders, according to figures from OVAM, the Flemish Waste Agency. In Belgium, about 200,000 butts are discarded on the ground every day. Moreover, filters contain more harmful substances than ordinary cigarette butts, significantly impacting nature. For example, one filter can contaminate 500l of water.
The most serious health consequence of smoking is lung cancer. Although treatments continue to improve, only 25 per cent of patients survive after five years, while the disease is 80 to 90 per cent preventable.
#FlandersNewsService | © CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP