The “puff”, this new disposable electronic cigarette that has become fashionable among young people, poses both health and environmental problems. That is why Francesca Pasquini, deputy environmentalist in Hauts-de-Seine, intends to propose a law banning the sale of “Puff” to the National Assembly from September. Dr. Barbara Divisions, General Addiction Physician and Consultant at Klava Innovation, describes to us in this forum what risks motivate this ban.
You’ve probably already seen their colorful packaging at tobacconists, in supermarkets or on the Internet? Have you seen college or high school students consume it? Maybe you’ve already tried it? A “puff” (from the English “puff”) or “disposable capsule” is a disposable electronic cigarette created in the United States in 2019 that is currently fashionable among teenagers: 10% of French people aged 13 to 16 Years surveyed in July 2022 by ACT (“Alliance Against Tobacco”) had tried it and 52% liked its playful side.
It especially appeals to young people because of its many fruity and sweet flavors reminiscent of sweets (“Cola”, “red fruit”, “marshmallow” …), its colorful packaging, its ease of use and its attractive price (10 at 12 euros for a puff that allows about 500 to 600 puffs ). It also benefited from extensive promotion targeting youth via social networks and influencers. It can be used discreetly by teens at home or in college and high school classrooms.
What are the risks of buffing?
The Puff is likely to accustom young people to the vaping gesture and easily lead to addiction, especially among young people. Many college and high school students today say they are “hooked” on Puff. Whether in a puff, in a rechargeable electronic cigarette or in tobacco, nicotine consumption by young people can have harmful effects on the developing brain such as learning difficulties, sleep disorders, concentration problems … He gets used to taking nicotine to control his emotions.
Puff with nicotine users also run the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine and then entering into smoking. The Puff could then become a gateway to smoking among youth who do not smoke, while smoking tends to be lower among university and high school students in France today. The level of nicotine in Puffs can be quite high depending on the model and unfortunately it is poorly regulated.
The liquid a consumer inhales like an e-cigarette remains irritating and can lead to respiratory infection, even if it does not contain the tar and toxic products associated with combustion of tobacco. The puff contains plastic and a lithium battery, which is a source of toxic pollution to the environment, especially since it can be disposed of. An item that tobacco professionals began to circumvent by bringing to the market a puff with a rechargeable battery and disposable e-liquid cartridges …
In its press release of 28/23/23, the National Academy of Medicine warned of the dangers of buff. It made several recommendations: that the public, particularly middle school and high school teachers, should be informed of the dangers of Puff, and that regulations around the sale of Puff should be strengthened to protect young people from it (sales to already existing minors are prohibited). Courses to be applied (public health code), tax booster, neutral package, etc.). The National Academy of Medicine recommends that disposable or disposable e-cigarettes be reserved only for tobacco smokers in the context of tobacco withdrawal.
By 2026, European regulations could ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes containing non-removable batteries in favor of devices with replaceable, recyclable batteries. To date, the Puff phenomenon is a controversial topic, and it is growing in popularity among young people who are unaware of the risks they are taking with this new product. In the same way that a cigarette made a dulling effect among young adults several decades ago, Puff now follows the same cognitive biases.
Given that the long-term effects of Puff consumption are not yet known, measures to protect young adults from the dangers of Puff should be strengthened. Prohibiting its sale to minors and banning advertising are points addressed in February 2023 by the National Academy of Medicine to reduce risks to the health of individuals in the future.
Puff prevention is a priority because awareness of the risks among young people and adults (particularly parents and professionals working with young people) is still not enough. In the context of smoking cessation in the clinical consultation, Puff should not be given priority over other existing therapeutic alternatives such as nicotine replacement, which should be integrated into conventional care.
To increase the chances of success during smoking cessation, it is advisable to follow addiction science or smoking cessation counseling but also in addition to resorting to digital applications such as Quitoxil®, a digital support tool to help quit smoking. Tobacco is available in stores .