The French Parliament wants to ban disposable vejps. This follows a majority vote in favour of an opposition proposal, which is also supported by the government. If the ban goes through the Senate, disposable cigarettes could be banned from sale as early as autumn 2024. Critics warn that a ban would only open up an even bigger black market for nicotine products in France.
France is moving closer to banning single-use e-cigarettes. This is after Parliament, one of two bodies that must approve changes to the law, voted in favour of a ban on the popular products. A vote in the Senate now awaits, but according to the AP news agency, the French government mayand count on support there too.
The French government believes that a ban on disposable vejps would reduce the use of e-cigarettes among young people, while limiting the environmental impact of disposable models.
Warns against black market
However, the proposal has been widely criticised. Even before disposable models became commonplace in tobacco shops, use among young people was high. Young people bought the products on the black market, away from shops and shopping centres.
"Teenagers who wanted vejpa "lychee ice" didn't wait for disposable vejps to hit the conventional market. They could easily find adverts on social media and websites where retailers were not particularly concerned about the customer's age," writes the report. Liberation magazine in an article accompanying the launch of the bill in September.
Most illegal cigarettes in the EU
Already today, the black market for nicotine very large in France. This is especially true for cigarettes, where France accounts for 47 per cent of all illegal cigarette sales in the entire EU. A total of 8 billion untaxed cigarettes were sold in France in 2022. Something that stands out as extreme in the the annual survey conducted by the tobacco company Philip Morris International. of illegal cigarette sales in the EU.
Now the demand for disposable cigarettes risks fuelling the illegal trade in another product, says Liberation.
"So by banning all consumers from buying single-use models, the government risks users turning to the black market instead." the paper writes.
Some support from user organisations
French vejp organisations, which normally protests loudly against various restrictions on e-cigarettes, has not been unilaterally against a ban on single-use models. However, according to Sébastien Beziau, Chairman of the non-profit vejp association SoVape there are better arguments in favour of prohibition than stopping teenage drug use. According to a French study, teenage drug use leads to less smoking later in lifefat. In addition, daily use is very low, especially among non-smokers," says Sébastien Beziau.
"We know that all young people try new things, whether they are allowed or not. The issue of e-cigarettes among young people has unfortunately become a mantra for anti-tobacco activists, It is an argument used to intimidate and which affects everyone who vejps, not just young people." says Sébastien Beziau to Liberation.
He would rather see a "sensible discussion" on vejpning, where the fight against smoking takes centre stage and issues are addressed. the environmental impact of individual products governs the legislation.
E-cigs important for smoking cessation
At present, the average smoker 25 per cent of the French populationmore men (29%) than women (23%). These figures have not decreased significantly over the last 20 years. At the same time, the French government has taken a relatively mild approach to vejp products and the ban on single-use models will not apply to the more traditional e-cigarettes. Among many doctors and smoking cessation practitioners, e-cigarettes are seen as a means of effective tool for quitting smoking. And in those contexts, disposable models can also play an important role.
"In some addiction treatment centres, doctors recommend disposable vejps as harm minimisation and as support to smokers who want to quit smoking." says the doctor Jean-Pierre Couteron to Liberation.
"Attack from pharmaceutical companies"
He is supported by the pulmonologist Gérard Mathern who argues that the reason for banning single-use models is dogmatic.
"Chasing after nicotine users is not good. Wanting to eliminate a popular substance from the human environment is a fantasy. The ban is a blow in the war against electronic cigarettes, fuelled by the pharmaceutical lobby, which has lost control of substitute products, and of course by the tobacco lobby," he told Liberation.
The proposal to ban single-use models will now go to the French Senate. If the Senate votes in favour, the ban could come into effect as early as September 2024.