Life Style

With “puffs”, disposable electronic cigarettes, the tobacco industry seeks to seduce children



Not long ago, pushing open the door of a tobacconist meant coming across packets of cigarettes lined up on shelves behind the counter, crossed out with an alert: ” Smoking kills “. From now on, there are also colorful and thin cases, Malabar pink or apple green, which display sweet flavors: “iced grape”, “mango”, “lychee”, “sparkling cola”, Where “lick”.

here are the puffs, from English “puffs”, disposable electronic cigarettes that sell like hot cakes to a very young clientele. Available at a price of €8.90, they may or may not contain nicotine. Their package is then crossed out with a warning: “The nicotine in this product is highly addictive. Its use by non-smokers is not recommended”.

“Even sixth graders vape”

Not enough to discourage the curious, notes Sachat, tobacconist in the Paris region. “I sell a lot of it to young people, because it’s cheaper for them than tobacco. » This elderly clientele “from 20 to 30 years old”, he thinks, has a preference “for sweet flavors”. The sale being prohibited to those under 18, he must multiply the controls: “When I have a doubt, I ask for the papers. »

Some pre-teens nevertheless manage without difficulty to obtain puffs. “In the college toilets, even sixth-grade students vape it, wondered a Parisian high school student. Nobody realizes anything because it smells like candy or chocolate, but not tobacco. »

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All marketing “Barbapapa”, according to the expression of Professor Laurent Karila, addictologist, is indeed turned towards the youngest. These new “vape” products play on the blurring of ages, with “for the obvious objective of leading to tobacco, in the long term”. The puff “thus constitutes a diversion of the use of electronic cigarettes, which are used as non-validated weaning tools for people who wish to quit smoking”, continues the addictologist.

An effective trap

It is an effective trap, according to the doctor, at a critical age in terms of public health. “Nicotine is the causative agent of addiction. The earlier an immature brain is exposed, the greater the risk of addiction. » Even the puffs without nicotine would not be without consequences, warns Laurent Karila: “They allow you to develop gestures related to tobacco: swallowing and spitting out smoke, becoming familiar with the object and pushing the door of tobacconists. All of this raises awareness of tobacco, in exactly the same way that non-alcoholic beers accustom non-drinkers to the gesture of drinking alcohol. »

Therefore, the doctor expects the public authorities to make young people and their parents more aware of the dangers of these puffsand above all that they increase the price, the best lever to limit consumption.

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