In the middle of the playground, under the yard, a table on which several leaflets are placed next to each other: “Screening”, “First Times”, “Screen = Danger”, “Tobacco: I so badly want him.she to stop”. A dozen curious college students rush in, some embarrassed to take a few copies while the speakers address a rehearsed speech to them. “Do you know why we are here?” Nod negative.
At the François Villon College, classified as REP + (priority education network), in the XIV arrondissement of Paris, a meeting was held this Tuesday morning around the “brothel”. It was chaired by Jean-Michel Gras, tobacco specialist and member of the Ile-de-France committee against respiratory diseases, and Adji Dramé, spokesman for the municipal health workshops.
These last are “an instrument of city policy to stimulate prevention and health promotion measures in working-class districts, explains Anne-Claire Boux, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of working-class districts, who was present at the meeting. Our goal is to identify and respond to health needs: the approach is to reach out to vulnerable populations. This is where we were made aware by the college of the large number of students using poufs.
“What is a whiff?” asks Adji Dramé. “A disposable electronic cigarette without nicotine”, replies tit for tat Mehdi (1), sixth. For 8 to 12 euros, these latest generation vaporizers contain around 600 puffs of fruity aromas – the equivalent of two packs of classic cigarettes. While their sale to minors is prohibited, “But students are the main consumers”, explains the tobacco specialist. And if there are many disposable cigarettes without nicotine, this is not the case for most, which contain between 0.9% and 2%.
“In the beginning, the electronic cigarette had to Help smokers to quit smokingit was a lesser evil explains the doctor. Today, young people are starting to smoke with the puff. The risk is that young people who have never touched a cigarette develop an addiction, that they get used to smoking, but also to the gesture.
So just one catchphrase: “don’t start”, a formula repeated by the speakers, who use all their diplomacy to get college students to understand the risks 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
“The puff pastry is specifically aimed at this audience of young people, even very young people,” worried Jean-Michel Gras. The mistake of well thought out marketing and increased advertising on social networks. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram… Any medium is good for attracting hyper-connected middle school students. In the yard, very few people have a smartphone that doesn’t stick out of their pocket. And then the aromas of cotton candy, red fruits, marshmallows… “regressive, reminiscent of confectionery”, says Vincent Germain, security prevention assistant. Not to mention the disposable device, which is easier to hide from parents. “It’s a little bit not seen, not taken”, laughs Leo, “puffeur” in the fifth.
“I’ve been using one for several months, familiar, Gladys, a sixth. I had tried cigarettes once, but I didn’t like it, I coughed a lot. It tastes good there and then all my friends have it.” The reasons for this success? “The playful, relaxing side, the fashionable effect and also less vigilance on the part of the parents”, regrets Vincent Germain.
Available at Gifi
Like all electronic cigarettes, these puffs are strictly forbidden for minors. However, his followers do not hide it very easily. “Just cross the street: the two tobacconists across from the university sell them, we’re never asked our age,” says Chloé, in fourth place. “I once tried to buy one but couldn’t, so I contacted an account on Instagram.” Details of one of his comrades. “A sixth grader even told me she could get something from Gifi,” Vincent Germain is sad.
This ease of obtaining moves contributes to the impression that there is no harm in using them. “If that were the case, we couldn’t buy it so easily,” is rich in Chloe. A phenomenon that prompted Vincent Germain to report tobacco shops to the police a few weeks ago. Since then no news.
But if the puff is presented by some as a “Toy”, However, teenagers know that it is not an object like the others. Behind the courtyard, a group of young people take a few hits before quickly hiding it in their pockets. “We will not be deceived says Vincent Germain to me. We see them with their breath in the corridors, in the toilets or at the exit. And these are young people who came to talk to us about it because they were worried. And for a good reason.
(1) First names have been changed.