The Flemish Health Commission of Belgium has warned against starting vaping, except as an alternative to classic cigarettes.
The committee is reportedly calling on the government to take stricter measures on liquids in e-cigarettes and make packaging less attractive to young people.
According to the Belgian health office, almost 10% of young men aged 15-24 smoke e-cigarettes once a week. In a student survey, 17% of Flemish youth admitted to vaping once in the past year.
Smoking e-cigarettes is seen by young people as cooler and less healthy than regular cigarettes, leading the Health Commission to re-examine how e-cigarettes are marketed. The Health Council is part of the Belgian public health agency and advises legislators on policies to improve health.
The Health Commission concluded that vaping is not recommended for non-smokers or young people due to the addictive nicotine content and the vaporized liquid in cigarettes inhaled by the user. This liquid can contain more than 1,800 substances and its safety is not guaranteed.
Due to the potentially dangerous effects of unknown substances in e-cigarettes, the Ministry of Health has called for the current market for e-liquids to be halted and new products not allowed to enter until existing products have been inspected.
In addition, the health board wants to get rid of the attractive packaging of vaping products and put health warnings on the packaging.
It would be too far for the health board to include pictures of damaged lungs on packs, on par with regular cigarettes.
"E-cigarettes are a potential tool for complete smoking cessation: they are considered far less harmful than smoking. For smokers, they are a better alternative to smoking," De Morgan's Health Council said.
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke is following the advice of the Health Commission and has drawn up a royal decree to implement the changes.
"We will develop a list of permitted and prohibited substances and introduce packaging rules to make them less attractive."