“Puff” is a success amongst college students – Liberation

The François-Villon College in Paris hosted a workshop on raising awareness of the risks of using a new disposable electronic cigarette. Especially popular on playgrounds, it is not without danger.

In the middle of the playground, below the yard, a table with several leaflets standing side by side: “Screening”, “First time”, “Screen = Danger”, “Tobacco: I would love for him to stop.” A dozen curious students rush there: some embarrassed take a few copies each, while speakers give them a well-rehearsed speech. “Do you know why we’re here?” Nod negatively.

It was at the François-Villon College, classified as REP + (Priority Education Network), in the 14th Paris Arrondissement, that a meeting on “poof” was held on Tuesday morning. It was led by Jean-Michel Gras, a tobacco specialist and member of the Ile-de-France Committee on Respiratory Diseases, and Adji Dramé, a speaker for the city’s health workshops.

The latter are “A tool of city policy to stimulate prevention and actions to promote health in workers’ settlements,” explains Anne-Claire Boux, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the working-class districts, present at the meeting. Our goal is to identify and respond to health needs: the approach is to “reach” vulnerable groups. Here the faculty alerted us to the large number of students using puffs.

600 breaths

“What’s a poof?” asks Adji Dramé. “Nicotine-free disposable electronic cigarette”, corresponds tit for tat Mehdi (1), on the sixth. For 8 to 12 euros, these latest-generation vaps contain about 600 breaths of fruit flavors – the equivalent of two boxes of classic cigarettes. While their sale to minors is prohibited, “Students, however, are the main consumers,” explains the tobacco specialist. And if there are many disposable cigarettes without nicotine, that is not the case for most of them, which contain between 0.9% and 2%.

“In the beginning, the electronic cigarette was a must help smokers quit smokingit was less evil, explains the doctor. Today, young people are starting to smoke with a pouf. The risk is that adolescents who have never touched a cigarette develop an addiction, get used to inhaling smoke, but also to gesture.

So, one password: “not to do”, a formula repeated by speakers, who use all their diplomacy to get students to understand the risk of puff: “Nicotine or not, inhaled smoke is extremely dangerous,” warns Adji Dramé. It contains a large number of chemicals and potentially toxic products.

Teenagers in the spotlight

“Puff explicitly targets this audience of young people, even very young people.” takes care of Jean-Michel Gras. It is a mistake of thoughtful marketing and increased promotion on social networks. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram… All means are good for attracting hyperconnected high school students. Few people in the yard have a smartphone that doesn’t stick out of their pocket. And then, the flavors of cotton candy, red fruit, marshmallow … “regressive, reminiscent of those from confectionery”, says Vincent Germain, assistant for safety prevention. Not to mention the disposable device, which is easier to hide from parents. “A little invisible, not filmed,” laughs Leo, “puffeur” in the fifth.

“I’ve been using one for several months, confides, Gladys, sixth. I tried cigarettes once, but I didn’t like it, I coughed a lot. It tastes good there and then all my girls have it. ” The reasons for this success? “Playful, recreational side, fashion effect, and also less vigilance on the part of parents”, sorry Vincent Germain.

Available on Gifi

Like all electronic cigarettes, these puffs are strictly forbidden for minors. However, his followers do not hide that it is easy for them. “Just cross the street: they sell two shops across the street from college, they never ask us how old we are,” says Chloé, in the fourth. “I tried to buy once, but I couldn’t, so I contacted my Instagram account,” details of one of his comrades. “Even one sixth grader told me she could get it from Gifi,” Vincent Germain is sad.

This ease of obtaining poufs contributes to the impression that its use is not harmful. “If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to buy it so easily,” Chloe abounds. The phenomenon that caused Vincent Germain to report tobacco shops to the police a few weeks ago. No news since then.

But if some volume presents as a “toy”, teenagers, however, know that it is not a subject like others. Behind the yard, a group of young people inhale a couple of rays before quickly hiding it in their pocket. “We are not deceived,” Vincent Germain tells me. We see them with fluff in the hallways, in the toilets or at the exit. And these are young people who came to tell us about it because they were worried. And for good reason.

(1) The names have been changed.

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