France wants to ban disposable e-cigarettes to combat smoking

France plans to ban disposable electronic cigarettes. The ban is part of the national plan to fight smoking, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced on Sunday. According to her, she told the RTL network, the Government “will shortly present a new national plan to combat smoking with, in particular, the prohibition of disposable electronic cigarettes, the famous ‘puffs’ that create bad habits for young people”.

The French government is putting the finishing touches on its 2024 budget with a broader plan to reduce smoking, which Borne says is the cause of 75,000 deaths a year in the country. The plan does not include a new tax increase on cigarettes. “But that does not mean that we do not monitor tobacco consumption,” Borne said: her main concern is disposable vaporizers, known as “puffs” in France, which according to her are a gateway to smoking.

Borne is concerned that cigarettes with flavors such as frozen caramel, marshmallow and bubblegum, which are reminiscent of childhood sweets and are priced between 8 and 12 euros for 500 puffs, are targeting teenagers.

Several European countries are also considering banning them. In Belgium, its sale over the Internet is prohibited and in Ireland a national consultation on its prohibition is being carried out. In Germany, the government has banned flavored e-cigarettes, although the drug czar warns that this is only the beginning.

Australia has taken the toughest response: vapes are only available on prescription, have their nicotine content reduced and flavors restricted.

Similar measures have been taken in New Zealand, including a ban on most disposable vapes and marketing to children, including a ban on vape shops near schools and regulations requiring generic descriptions of scents. The rules, which went into effect in August, were intended to maintain the sale of disposable cigarettes for those who use them as a transition to quitting.

Irish research shows that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are up to five times more likely to start smoking than those who don’t.

According to data published last year, New Zealand’s smoking prevalence had fallen to 8% – one of the lowest in the world – but the increase in daily vaping users was greater than the decrease in daily smokers.

The number of 10th grade students – around 14 years old – in New Zealand who vaped daily had tripled, from 3.1% in 2019 to 9.6% in 2021.

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