Puff ban in France: here’s what’s happening

Puff ban in France: here's what's happening

Published on: 20/04/2024


In a world that is increasingly attentive to promoting a correct lifestyle, there is a lot of attention to the new habits of the new generations, who are partly abandoning traditional cigarettes in favor of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco. What is worrying, however, is the fact that more and more young people are taking to vaping with so-called puff cigarettes, disposable cigarettes, less harmful than tobacco but not harmless.

Public health concerns are increasingly intertwined with government policies: the recent announcement of the ban on disposable electronic cigarettes by French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is a clear demonstration of this.

Puffs have become popular, especially among younger people, due to their accessibility, low cost and wide variety of flavors. These devices, although less harmful than cigarettes, can lead to addiction; Furthermore, they are a significant threat to the environment

France’s decision to ban these products aligns with actions already taken by other countries, recognizing the urgency of addressing this double threat. The French government, with this initiative, intends not only to safeguard the health of its citizens, especially the youngest, but also to set an example of environmental responsibility and proactive governance in the era of accelerated consumerism.

What are “puffs”?

Disposable electronic cigarettes, the “puff”, are ready-to-use devices that do not require recharging or refueling, unlike the “classic” electronic cigarette, they are designed for healthy and undemanding use.

Available in a wide range of flavours, from sweet and fruity notes to more exotic ones, puffs stand out for their colorful design and pleasant appearance. They are relatively cheap devices, with prices ranging from 8 to 12 euros per device, and therefore very attractive compared to traditional smoking products, especially for occasional smokers and younger people.

The construction of disposable e-cigarettes includes a battery, a heating element, and a pre-charged tank containing the liquid to be vaporized, which may or may not contain nicotine. It is precisely the ease of use, in addition to the low cost, that is worrying, as well as the perception that it is less harmful than the traditional cigarette: the influence on the consumption habits of younger people is pushing the authorities to reconsider the regulation of these products in a perspective of public health and environmental sustainability.

Furthermore, being disposable devices, they also represent a problem for the environment.

This segment of the vaping market has become very popular in a short time thanks to promotion through social media and availability in a variety of outlets, from specialty stores to large-scale retailers. But doubts remain: this is why governments are taking action in this regard.

What are “puffs”?

Why disposable cigarettes are worrying

Disposable electronic cigarettes, now very widespread, raise many questions regarding their impact on health, especially in devices containing nicotine, a substance which, even in alternative forms to traditional smoking, entails risks of addiction and potential damage to long-term health. term.

In France the alarm sounded loudly: the French Observatory of Addiction (OFDT) reported a notable increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among adolescents from 2017 to 2022. This trend, associated with a worrying percentage of 13% of young people among 13 and 16 year olds who have already used these products, highlights the need for targeted interventions to prevent early initiation into smoking.

In addition to the risks of addiction, there are specific concerns linked to the inhalation of chemicals present in vaporized liquids, certainly less toxic than tobacco smoke, but not entirely harmless. E-cigarettes, with their fruity flavors and tobacco flavours, are an excellent tool for quitting smoking and inhaling fewer harmful substances, but they should only be aimed at smokers, not at those who have not yet started.

The response of health authorities and governments to these concerns is manifested through the adoption of regulatory measures, such as the French ban on disposable e-cig, aimed at limiting the accessibility and attractiveness of these products for young consumers .

Read also: Guide to the various types of tobacco and their characteristics

Sale of puffs: what France has decided

On 4 December 2023, the French National Assembly voted unanimously to ban the sale of vape pen disposable e-cigarettes, which will come into force in 2024, pending approval from the Senate and the European Commission.

This choice is part of a broader anti-smoking plan: the goal is to create a generation free from tobacco – and similar or “alternative” products – by 2032.

The initiative aims to counter the widespread use of puffs among adolescents, attracted by their fruity and sweet flavors and their low cost compared to traditional cigarettes. The Alliance contre le Tabac survey shows that 15% of French teenagers have tried puffs. The law aims to protect the health of young people and the environment, given the high rate of addiction caused by these products and their negative environmental impact due to plastic and electronic components.

The French example will probably stimulate other governments to undertake similar initiatives: restrictive measures against addictive products are probable, but not certain.

The environmental impact of puffs

The French government’s choice aims to dissuade young people from any type of smoking, but not only.

Disposable electronic cigarettes can pollute the environment because, once exhausted, they become waste that is difficult to manage and very polluting.

Puffs, composed of plastic, electronic components and non-recyclable lithium batteries, increase the load of electronic and plastic waste. Every discarded device represents a threat to the ecosystem: it can pollute the soil and waterways, putting biodiversity and human health at risk. The lack of effective strategies for the disposal and recycling of these materials amplifies the problem.

Hence the appeal of environmentalist and medical experts for a ban on these products, which are not ideal for public health and certainly harmful to the environment. The need to reduce waste and promote sustainable alternatives to the consumption of disposable electronic cigarettes therefore becomes one of the reasons that lead to decisions such as those in France.

The road to a greener future passes through awareness of our actions and the willingness to adopt significant changes in our lifestyle and consumption patterns.

Disposable e-cigarette: what do other governments do?

The ban on disposable electronic cigarettes in France is not an isolated phenomenon but is part of a global trend of increasing regulation of the vaping sector, a sign of increasingly marked international awareness regarding the impacts of smoking and its alternatives on public health and on the environment. The French choice reflects a commitment shared by several nations to combat young people’s access to puffs and similar devices and to reduce pollution resulting from single-use waste.

Countries such as Germany, Austria and New Zealand have already imposed similar restrictions. Each nation adopts specific measures, but the common objective remains to protect public health, especially of the younger generations, and preserve the environment. France’s decision to ban disposable e-cigarettes can therefore be seen as part of a broader sensitivity that sees governments committed to responding to new consumer trends in the field of vaping.

Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health authorities continue to monitor developments in the field of vaping, providing guidelines and recommendations based on scientific evidence. This global commitment to public health and the environment highlights the need for informed policies, based on solid data and a thorough understanding of the long-term impacts of vaping.

The French ban on disposable e-cigarettes is part of a framework of international actions that aim to protect public health and promote sustainable development.

Puff ban in France

Puff ban in France: what were the reactions

The announcement of the ban on disposable e-cigarettes in France has triggered a series of reactions ranging from approval to criticism: on the one hand, health organizations and environmental groups have welcomed the decision, seeing it as a significant step forward in fight against the smoking epidemic among young people and reduce the environmental impact of plastic and electronic waste; on the other hand, critical reactions were not long in coming, especially from the tobacco and vaping industry, which sees the ban as a threat to consumers’ freedom of choice and potential economic damage for the companies involved. L

Furthermore, there is concern expressed by some public health experts and consumer groups that the ban could push consumers into the black market, where products are not subject to safety checks and regulations, thus increasing risks for health.

In some cases it is argued, not without reason, that rather than imposing total restrictions it would be more effective to focus on harm reduction policies, educating consumers, regulating nicotine contents and promoting sustainable recycling and disposal practices, perhaps pushing companies to produce more “ecological” puffs

It should be added that, alongside puffs, we find rechargeable electronic cigarettes on the market, which are decidedly more sustainable, because they are more long-lasting, than disposable ones: perhaps smokers could be encouraged to choose this solution, without prejudice to the fact that vaping must be promoted only among those who already consume tobacco and want to quit and certainly not among the very young.

Vaping is less harmful than traditional tobacco and heated tobacco and can be useful for quitting smoking: puffs, however, being disposable, are a non-optimal choice for the environment and also because they are less “customisable” than rechargeable ones.

Read also: Exvapo 2024: program and details on the vaping fair in Naples

In conclusion

The ban on disposable electronic cigarettes in France is yet another initiative against smoking and its side effects, both in terms of public health and environmental impact. If vaping is less harmful than tobacco smoking, the problem of disposables is linked above all to their use by very young people, who should be discouraged.

Looking ahead, the French ban could serve as a catalyst for similar initiatives in other countries, spurring a broader movement to regulate the vaping industry internationally.

However, the mixed reactions to the ban highlight the need for a balanced approach that takes into account the different perspectives and interests involved. Continued research and constructive dialogue between governments, industries, scientific communities and civil society will be key to developing harm reduction strategies that are effective, workable and respectful of individual freedoms.

Furthermore, technological innovation and consumer education will play a key role in the evolution of the vaping market and in reducing its negative impacts. Recycling and extended producer responsibility (REP) initiatives could offer sustainable solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of single-use electronic devices.

In conclusion, the puff ban in France opens a new chapter in the management of vaping and its implications. By addressing current challenges with informed policy, international collaboration and innovation, we can look forward to a future where the benefits of smoking harm reduction can be realized without compromising public health or the environment.


Concern for the health of young people and the environment: France’s decision to ban disposable electronic cigarettes, the so-called “puffs”, responds to the growing concern for public health, particularly that of young people, and for the impact negative environmental impact caused by these devices. The latter, although less harmful than traditional cigarettes, are not without health risks and contribute significantly to pollution due to their non-recyclable components;

Popularity among the very young: “puffs” have gained popularity especially among younger people, thanks to their accessibility, low costs and the wide range of flavors available. This trend has raised concerns about how easily young people can start vaping, potentially paving the way for nicotine addiction and other health risks.

Legislative impact and international response: The French initiative fits into a broader context of increasing regulation of the vaping sector internationally, with countries such as Germany, Austria and New Zealand having adopted similar measures. This reflects a global commitment to protecting public health and preserving the environment, stimulating a debate on how to best manage new trends in tobacco and nicotine consumption;

Debate on harm reduction strategies: reactions to the French ban highlight the complexity of the issue, with some voices suggesting the need for a more balanced approach that includes consumer education, regulation of nicotine content and promotion of sustainable recycling. This raises important questions about the most effective strategies to reduce harm associated with vaping, especially among young people;

Role of technological innovation and education: Looking to the future, technological innovation and consumer education will be key to mitigating the negative impacts of vaping. Initiatives such as Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) could offer sustainable solutions to address the environmental impact of single-use electronic devices, highlighting the importance of a holistic approach that includes both regulation and innovation to effectively manage the phenomenon of vaping.

Frequent questions

What are “puffs”?

Disposable e-cigarettes, known as “puffs,” are ready-to-use devices that do not require charging or refilling. Available in a wide range of e-liquid flavours, from sweet and fruity to more exotic, puffs stand out for their colorful design and pleasant appearance. They are economical devices, with prices ranging from 8 to 12 euros per device, making them particularly attractive for occasional smokers and younger people. The structure includes a battery, a heating element and a tank pre-filled with vape liquid, which may contain nicotine.

Why are disposable cigarettes worrying?

Disposable e-cigs raise questions about their health impact, especially due to their nicotine content, which poses risks of addiction and potential long-term harm. In France, the increase in the use of these cigarettes among adolescents has alarmed the authorities, highlighting the need for targeted interventions. In addition to health risks, concerns include inhaling chemicals from vaporized liquids and high environmental impact due to non-recyclable components.

What has France decided regarding puffs?

On December 4, 2023, the French National Assembly voted unanimously to ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes, which will come into force in 2024. This decision is part of a broader anti-smoking plan, with the aim to create a generation free from tobacco and alternative products by 2032. The initiative aims to counteract the widespread use of puffs among adolescents, attracted by the sweet and fruity flavors and the low cost, protecting their health and the environment.