In 2018, Dutch antismoking groups asked judges in Rotterdam to ban the existing EU ISO test because it provides inaccurate information about what smokers are actually inhaling.
Tests by a Dutch public health institute showed that when the tiny ventilation holes in cigarette filters are covered—as smokers tend to do with their fingers when holding cigarettes—tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels exceed the official EU limits.
The official EU ISO test, however, leaves the ventilation holes uncovered, leading to lower readings.
The Rotterdam court referred the case to the ECJ to establish whether the test was valid and binding. While confirming that test was valid, the court on Feb. 22 noted it was not binding on the public because the method had not been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, where the trade bloc publishes its legal acts.
Dutch attorney Phon van den Biesen said the ECJ had effectively thrown out the ISO method and instructed the Dutch court to review the antismoking group’s request on the basis of a measuring system the better reflects the deliveries.