In early 2015, the Belgian Minister of Health Maggie De Block (Open VLD), asked SCH to review the very negative notice issued in October 2013 on the electronic cigarette. In the light of the recent findings, she asked the Council about their doubts and possible dangers.
The scientific panel that plays an advisory role to the Belgian authorities has delivered much more moderate recommendations with regard to vaporizers.
For the first time, the experts recognize that the electronic cigarette delivering nicotin may help smoking withdrawal. Therefore, they recommend it not to be sold only in pharmacies. The purpose is that it should not “be harder to find than tobacco”. In addition, the SCH experts consider the vaporizers should no longer be subject to the same advertising restrictions as those applicable for drugs.
However, the experts remain cautious with respect to the product. They claim that dual use of cigarettes and vaporizer has no beneficial effects for health. The members of this scientific panel also point to the lack of knowledge about the long-term effects of inhaling dyes and flavors.
Although they fear of a return to the normalization of tobacco, they recognize that new users who have never smoked are not enclined to go to smoking, according to the scientific studies published over the last two years.
Experts recommend prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public and business places, and encourage fundings for new research.
Finally, they advise the authorities in charge of public health to submit e-cigarettes to the same restrictions as those applied to tobacco products, including those related to advertising, which is prohibited.