Why France is Saying No to Disposable Vapes

Why France is Saying No to Disposable Vapes

Re-useable vapes will still be legal to use in France.

12 September 2023 | Hannah Rubery

Why France is Saying No to Disposable Vapes (Image)

Regulations surrounding vaping are rapidly evolving across the globe. In particular, the European Union is experiencing a wave of changes with a sharp focus on disposable vapes and flavour bans. The dynamic landscape is seeing governments taking decisive actions to curb the increasing prevalence of vaping, particularly amongst the younger demographic.

France leads the charge against disposable vapes, aiming to obliterate the risks associated with it. This is part of a broader strategy to tackle underage vaping and mitigate the alleged 'gateway' effect that vaping has on traditional smoking habits. The impending ban on disposable vapes and attractive flavours considered a lure for teenagers, signals a tectonic shift in the vaping industry and health regulations in the EU.

France's plan to ban disposable vapes

France's plan to ban disposable vapes is a cornerstone of its revamped approach to public health and smoking reduction goals. The intention is to deter non-smokers, particularly the youth, from initiating the habit under the guise of vaping. The ban is a timely response to the increasing popularity of disposable vapes, often seen as a 'gateway' to traditional smoking.

Disposable vapes are under scrutiny due to their convenience and affordability, features that reportedly make them an easy option for the younger demographic. Furthermore, the French government is also considering a ban on sweet candy flavours often associated with disposable vapes, a tactic believed to target teenagers.

The move is seen as a significant step in the country's strategy to reduce the average annual death toll of 75,000 attributable to smoking by the year 2024. Despite the ban, re-usable e-cigarettes will continue to be legally available, reinforcing the fact that vaping is intended as a smoking cessation tool, not a recreational activity. So let's unpack this.

The "Gateway" Theory of Vaping

The argument that vaping, particularly using disposable vapes, acts as a 'gateway' to traditional smoking is a common reason cited for restrictive regulations. But it's important to dissect this notion carefully. While it is true that some individuals who vape may eventually transition to smoking, it does not necessarily imply a direct, causal relationship. Moreover, a significant amount of research suggests that there's little to no concrete evidence supporting this theory.

Many studies highlight the fact that the prevalence of smoking has continued to decline, even as E-Cigarette use has surged. It is, therefore, essential to consider the complexity of this issue and to avoid oversimplification. The goal should be to construct balanced regulations that protect the youth while preserving the benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation tool.

Pros and Cons of Disposable Vapes

The popularity of disposable vapes can be attributed to a variety of factors. Their convenience is perhaps the most notable advantage, with users appreciating their compact size and lightweight design which make them extremely portable and easy to use. Moreover, disposable vapes have a simple, user-friendly functionality - they require no setup or upkeep and can be discarded once used up. This eliminates the need for charging or refilling, making them an appealing option for novices or those seeking a fuss-free vaping experience. Disposable vapes are also widely available, being sold in many convenience stores and online, further bolstering their appeal.

However, the same factors contributing to their popularity can also be seen as downsides. Whether these outweigh the positives of disposables is under constant debate, but it is undeniable that disposable vapes have a use in the market.

Many first-time vapers looking to quit smoking can try vaping with disposables to decide whether it's an avenue they wish to use for quitting cigarettes. It also allows users to try new brands and flavours without investing too much in products they may not wish to use. While re-useable vapes offer more positives and should be a goal for smokers making the switch, disposable vapes can be an important step on that journey.

Government's Role in Tackling Under-age Vaping

Governments worldwide must take a proactive role in combating underage vaping but banning disposables isn't likely the best route. Regulating sales can be a definitive step towards curbing the accessibility of these products to minors. Recent news has been plagued with story after story of stores being caught selling vapes to underage people in the UK - a feat no doubt seen elsewhere. The issue becomes more one of access than product.

The UKVIA has previously outlined comprehensive guidelines for the UK that other countries could also benefit from. These include rigorous age-verifying processes, restricting in-store advertisements to ensure they are not appealing to the younger demographic, and implementing hefty penalties for non-compliant retailers. These measures, if implemented effectively, can contribute substantially towards preventing underage vaping and ensuring that vaping serves its intended purpose as a tool for smoking cessation.

With talks about potentially banning disposable vapes in the UK already on the table before France's decision, there is a growing possibility we too could see the same changes. What do you think about a disposable vape ban? Let us know in the comments below!