With all of the debate going on about e cigarettes at the moment, now France has had their say. They have decided to crack down on both tobacco and e cigarettes. You would think that they would realise that electronic cigarettes is a way to get people to kick tobacco, but alas no they are cracking down on both, as if they are the same thing.
They have decided to ban vaping in public places and have put in to place regulations to effectively ban all advertising on e cigs by 2016.
Along with this they will introduce a plain packaging rule on cigarettes. This, they say will be done in order to reduce the high smoking rates among young population under 16. This campaign is similar to that in Australia whereby the Health Minister Marisol Touraine said that cigarettes will have a similar shape, similar typeset and similar colour. This will help greatly in making cigarettes less attractive to the young smokers.
Research shows that about 13 million adults in France smoke on a daily basis. This situation has become worse as the number of smokers is growing at a high rate especially among the young population. He said the main reason as to why they are not accepting it is because tobacco causes death of 73 000 people per year in the country which is very bad.
In Europe, France is among the leading countries with the highest rates of under 16s smoking. In addition to the plain packaging measures, he also declared that smoking will be banned even in the playgrounds as well as in cars with passengers below 12 years. The tobacco firms are even forced by the European Union laws to cover 65 % of the packaging with health warnings. Despite this, France wants to go beyond this and emulate Australia’s example to the vehemence of the tobacco companies.
Celine Audebert who is the spokeswoman for French firm Seita slammed the move as “fully incomprehensible”. She added that it is mostly based on the Australian experience which is a complete fiasco. In the year 2012, Australia made it a law that all cigarettes to be sold in identical packed in olive-brown packets with the same typeface. They are also covered with graphics showing the health warnings. The experts say that this has helped in reducing smoking though the tobacco companies disputed this so much.
Australia also raised the taxes that made the prices to go up thereby causing the consumption to go down. This step led the volumes of tobacco to fall by 3.4% in 2013 relative to 2012 according to the tobacco figures. However, the French brands will still remain on packets but it will be limited to a defined and discreet size and on the same place on the packet.
E Cigarette Advertising Ban
Tourane also said that there will be a banning of electronic cigarettes in some public places. E cigarettes have exploded in the country according to the statistics published by OFDT. It estimated that 18% of people in the age of 15 to 75 had tried them. He recommended that it is better for one to vape rather than to smoke tobacco.
E-cigarettes shall also be banned in places where young people hang out and on public transport. In addition to this, the advertising of e-cigarettes shall be restricted and then banned fully as from May 2016. This will exclude the trade publications and point of sales. Around 13 million people smoke in France every day out of the entire population of 66 million. Finally, he said that they can no longer tolerate this scourge that kills so many people.
This is one in the eye for the tobacco firms, but they seem to be missing the bigger picture by cracking down on e cigarettes at the same time. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that e cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco, and if they help people quit tobacco for good then they should be promoted as positive rather than tarred with the same brush.
It would be interesting to see the figures of how many people have quit smoking since the supermarkets in the UK had to start hiding them. Or even since the introduction of graphic health images on packets. An addiction is an addiction and these types of things won’t make people quit. But it is much easier to control your addiction with an e cigarette, as you can control your nicotine intake, and gradually reduce it if you have a desire to quit.
We feel this is poor judgement on the part of France. But what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop