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France's parliament considers a ban on single-use e-cigarettes

Disposable electronic flavored cigarette devices are displayed for sale at a tobacco shop in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, France, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Disposable electronic flavored cigarette devices are displayed for sale at a tobacco shop in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, France, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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PARIS -

The French parliament is considering a ban on single-use, disposable electronic cigarettes that are popular with teenagers for their sweet flavours and are under scrutiny as a new source of trash.

The ban, supported Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau, aims to protect the health of youths and mitigate the environmental impacts of the increasingly popular disposable products known as "puffs."

The National Assembly was expected to vote on the measure Monday night. If passed, it would then move to the Senate and could go into effect by September 2024.

Disposable e-cigarettes are small, battery-powered devices that deliver vapourized nicotine with various flavourings. While they do not contain tobacco, many include nicotine, a dangerous chemical known for its addictive properties.

Marion Catellin, president of the Alliance Against Tobacco, told The Associated Press that "single-use e-cigarettes are made of plastic, contain a lithium battery and heavy metals like cobalt and bromine, and the nicotine in these pods is a highly toxic substance. This environmental impact alone warrants a ban."

Disposable e-cigarettes differ from reusable vaping devices in that they are not designed to be refilled or recharged. Their small, non-rechargeable lithium batteries often end up in landfills.

Their rising popularity among teenagers, due to their tangy or fruity tastes and colourful designs, is causing alarm among lawmakers.

This bill is part of a broader trend. The UK, Ireland, and Germany are considering similar measures. New Zealand and Australia have already implemented restrictions. New Zealand's measures include mandating lower nicotine levels and restrictions on vape shop locations near schools.

The surge in disposable e-cigarettes in the U.S. market, primarily from China, following the Food and Drug Administration's 2020 ban on flavoured reusable e-cigarettes like Juul, exemplifies the broader challenge. The flavour restrictions didn't apply to disposable products, which proliferated in the wake of the regulation.

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Associated Press journalist Alex Turnbull in Paris contributed.

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