By Hugh Schofield
BBC Information, Paris
France is about to ban disposable e-cigarettes – recognized domestically as “puffs” – due to the hazard they pose to the surroundings and public well being.
Talking not too long ago on RTL radio, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne stated the measure was a part of a brand new anti-smoking plan being drawn up by the federal government. It must be in drive by the tip of the yr, campaigners stated.
A number of different international locations in Europe, together with Germany, Belgium and Eire, have introduced comparable bans. The UK can also be stated to be contemplating one.
Bought over-the-counter by tobacconists, disposable vapes in France price round €9 (£7.70) – lower than a packet of 20 cigarettes. They’re supposed to supply round 600 puffs – the tough equal of 40 cigarettes.
However France’s Nationwide Academy of Medication described them as a “particularly sly trap for children and adolescents”.
In keeping with Élisabeth Borne, “they create a reflex, a gesture, which children get used to, and then end up being drawn to tobacco”.
Campaigners accuse producers – many based mostly in China – of intentionally concentrating on youngsters, utilizing vibrant colors and a variety of flavours harking back to the candy store, for instance marshmallow, chocolate and hazelnut, watermelon, and ice sweet.
It is develop into an epidemic. It’s horrible how the tobacco trade has got down to hook youngsters
In keeping with the Alliance In opposition to Tobacco (ACT), 13% of 13-16-year-olds have tried “puffs” at the very least as soon as. Most say they began across the ages of 11 or 12.
“[The ban] is a great victory for civil society. These disposable e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway to smoking for young people,” says ACT president Loïc Josseran.
“It’s become an epidemic. It is terrible how the tobacco industry has set out to hook children.”
Sam, a 16-year-old Paris schoolboy, stated he started smoking disposable e-cigarettes two years in the past, shortly after they first appeared in France.
“They were talking about it a lot on TikTok. It was like a trend. And I thought, yeah why not?
“They’re vibrant, and in my head they don’t seem to be as harmful as tobacco. My favourites are iced grape and apricot. I suppose if the ban goes forward, I’ll begin shopping for common vapes.”
In theory it is not possible to buy “puffs” if you are under the age of 18, but Sam said it was easy to evade the restriction. According to ACT, tobacconists systematically refrain from asking for proof of age.
Campaigners have also highlighted the ecological damage caused by disposable e-cigarettes. In the UK, a study last year by the environmental organisation Material Focus found that more than one million devices were being thrown out every week.
“It is an environmental plague,” a group of French doctors and environmentalists wrote in Le Monde newspaper earlier this year.
They said each disposable e-cigarette was made of plastic and contained a non-removable battery with around 0.15 grams of lithium, as well as nicotine salts and traces of heavy metals.