France Votes to Ban Disposable Vapes


The French parliament has unanimously voted in favor of banning the sale of all disposable e-cigarettes amid mounting concerns over youth usage and environmental damage from the single-use devices.

The proposed legislation will outlaw the retail of disposable vaping products, commonly called “puffs” in France, by September 2024 if fully ratified into law following further approvals.

Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau stated Friday that “the sale of single-use e-cigarettes strongly appeals to youth while posing recidivistic environmental harms, necessitating urgent policy actions to enforce protections”.

National survey data seemingly supports ministerial concerns – approximately 15% of French teens aged 13-16 reported having tried the ultra-affordable devices, with most initiations occurring between 11 and 12 years old.

“The sweet flavors, cheap prices and wide retail availability provide negligible barriers enabling curious youth to easily access and experimentally puff on nicotine devices clearly not intended for novice users,” Rousseau added.

Beyond worries over adolescent usage, politicians also cited the extreme waste accumulation from disposables, which leach trace heavy metals over time. “It’s an environmental plague,” Rousseau said.

Sold widely across tobacconists and convenience outlets for around €9, the roughly 40-cigarette equivalent devices contribute over one million units in landfills weekly according to researchers.

While the National Assembly’s unanimous vote signals strong parliamentary backing, the proposed sales ban must still pass France’s upper legislative Senate chamber followed by European Commission clearance checks before entering official legal force.

Rousseau expressed confidence on fully ratifying the prohibitive measures by early 2024 despite expected tobacco industry lobbying efforts in upcoming deliberations.

Vaping advocates argued banning devices could unintentionally protect cigarette sales, removing reduced-harm options from adult smokers. Rousseau responded by highlighting France’s parallel investments into smoking cessation services.

The policy debate continues on balancing vaping’s risks versus harm reduction potentials for informed adult usage. France’s total prohibition vote underscores similar actions underway globally addressing cheaply priced nicotine delivery raising increasingly visible societal concerns.

Matthew Ma