Could France ban “bad habit” electronic cigarettes?

French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has revealed her intention to ban disposable electronic cigarettes. Known colloquially as “puffs”, she says they are a gateway to other tobacco products and an ecological disaster.  

In an interview with RTL on 3rd September, Borne revealed that she wants a ban on the throw-away devices, saying that, in addition to being an environmental disaster, they are a hook for youth to other tobacco products.  


Whilst increasing tobacco prices to combat the habit of smoking has worked to some degree – a packet of cigarettes now costs over €10 in France – the government won’t be raising taxes on tobacco products any time soon. Now, says Borne, it’s time for a different approach: to stop would-be smokers from ever starting in the first place. 

Disposable vapes, which feature flavours criticised for being too attractive to minors such as bubble gum and marshmallow, together with bright attractive packaging, are relatively inexpensive when compared to a traditional packet of cigarettes.  

Priced at €8 to €12 for around 500 “puffs”, teenage smokers have increasingly turned to this method of smoking over the “real thing”. According to a 2022 report by Statistica, the average regular e-cigarette user spends €59 per month on their habit. 

“It’s a reflex and a gesture that young people get used to. That’s how they get into smoking,” said Borne.  

She went on to say that it’s not only the nicotine that is a concern, but the mere action. She argued that products like “puffs” are “giving bad habits to young people” and should be removed from the marketplace. 


This measure is in line with a recent opinion piece released by doctors, tobacco specialists and environmental defenders that called for an urgent ban on these infamous cigarettes. In it, the National Academy of Medicine described disposable e-cigarettes as a “particularly devious trap for children and adolescents”.  

Several other European countries are taking a similar stance, with initiatives to ban them currently in the works in Ireland, Belgium and Germany.  

France has the EU’s second highest usage of vapes, with only Iceland using more.  

No date for a ban has been announced, although it’s likely to get the backing of the French parliament.


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