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France votes to ban single use e-cigarettes in crackdown to protect children

E-cigarettes come in various flavours which has mad them popular with children. (PA Wire)
E-cigarettes come in various flavours which has mad them popular with children. (PA Wire)

France’s National Assembly has voted to ban single use disposable electronic cigarettes over concerns that children are using them and that they are damaging the environment.

Lawmakers in the country adopted the bill in a late-night vote on Monday by 104 in favour with none against.

The bill will move to the Senate which is also expected to approve the move meaning the ban could be put into effect by September 2024.

Disposable e-cigarettes, which cost about 10 euros (nearly $11) each, are small, battery-powered devices that are especially popular among teenagers for their sweet flavours.

While they do not contain tobacco, many have nicotine, a dangerous chemical known for its addictive properties.

They 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, prompting concerns over their impact on the environment.

This bill is part of a broader trend as government move to legislate on e-cigarettes and vapes which have become have become big business because of the expense and health impacts of traditional tobacco products.

The UK, Ireland, and Germany are considering similar measures.

New Zealand and Australia have already implemented restrictions, with the former mandating lower nicotine levels and restrictions on vape shop locations near schools.

Three years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration cracked down on child-friendly flavoured reusable e-cigarettes. However, the ban was unable to stop a surge in unauthorised disposable e-cigarettes, primarily from China, from flooding the market.

Australia will ban imports of disposable vapes from January, in an effort to curb nicotine addiction in children.

New laws to stop single-use vapes from being made, advertised, and supplied in the country will also be introduced.

A study from the University of Sydney earlier this year found that over a quarter of teenagers aged 14-17 had vaped, while research from Australia's Cancer Council charity found that nine out of 10 teenagers in the same age group found it easy to access nicotine vapes.

"All Australian governments are committed to working together to stop the disturbing growth in vaping among our young people," said Mark Butler, the federal health minister who is leading the ban.