Netherlands agency says e-cigarettes not safe

Nov. 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Electronic cigarettes are addictive and contain dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, Netherlands public health officials said.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, usually known by its Dutch acronym RIVM, said users have reported mouth and throat irritation, DutchNews.nl reported Thursday. Nicotine vapors released by e-cigarettes may pose a danger to children, the agency said.

Junior Health Minister Martin Van Rijn told the newspaper AD he plans to craft regulations quickly instead of waiting for the European Union to act.

"I am taking the RIVM and product safety inspectors' warnings seriously," Van Rijn said. "That is why I am going to take extra steps in terms of information to the public about the safety of the e-cigarette."

The product is not currently regulated in the Netherlands, although RIVM recommends that e-cigarettes not be used when children are present.

Marcel Goertz, founder of Acvoda, an e-cigarette advocacy group, said e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes. He told the newspaper Volksrant the vapor poses no danger to those around smokers and charged that the RIVM report contains errors.

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