France Targets Youth E-Cigarette Use with Innovative Disposable Vape Ban

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France is making strides in addressing the mounting concern over the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes among the youth demographic. With plans to implement a ban on disposable e-cigarettes, locally dubbed “puffs”, France takes aim at both environmental and public health hazards posed by these products.

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, in an interview on RTL radio, confirmed that this measure forms a part of the government’s broader anti-smoking strategy. The proposed initiative is predicted to come into effect by the end of the year, as indicated by various campaigners.

France is by no means alone in this pursuit. Neighboring countries, including Germany, Belgium, Ireland, and potentially the UK, have also declared intentions toward imposing similar bans.

Disposable vapes, sold across tobacco counters in France, retail for approximately €9 (£7.70), less expensive than a pack of 20 traditional cigarettes. Offering an estimated 600 puffs, these vapes are roughly equivalent to 40 cigarettes in terms of consumption.

However, the National Academy of Medicine in France has expressed grave concerns about these products, describing them as an excessively cunning snare for the younger populace. Prime Minister Borne paralleled this sentiment, stating that these vapes acclimate the youth to certain habits, eventually gravitating them toward tobacco.

Critics lay accusation at the door of manufacturers, principally those based in China, suggesting they intentionally market their products to teenagers. Bright colours and an array of sweet shop-inspired flavors such as marshmallow, chocolate and hazelnut, watermelon, and ice candy are said to be among methods employed to lure in the underage demographic.

The Alliance Against Tobacco (ACT) has revealed that 13% of 13-16-year-olds have experimented at least once with “puffs”. The majority of this demographic reportedly took up the habit at the tender ages of 11 or 12.

“This is a substantial triumph for civil society,” contends ACT president Loïc Josseran. He criticizes the tobacco industry, characterizing its efforts to entrap children as an epidemic.

Disposable e-cigarettes have also drawn criticism for their environmental impact. UK-based environmental organization, Material Focus, revealed in a study last year that over a million devices were being discarded per week.

Described as an “environmental plague” by French doctors and environmentalists in the Le Monde newspaper, each disposable e-cigarette is fashioned out of plastic and contains an irremovable battery with roughly 0.15 grams of lithium. Additionally, they contain nicotine salts and vestiges of heavy metals.

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