Posting in Cancer
PARIS -- Smokers in sidewalk cafes turn in their Gauloises for e-cigarettes -- with an entrepreneurial French brand at the helm.
PARIS - From Brigitte Bardot to Marion Cotillard, the French dame effortlessly flicking her cigarette from a Parisian café terrace has oozed sex appeal for years. Soon, however, ladies may be trading in ash trays for off buttons as electronic cigarettes take France by storm.
Over the past two years, Lucky Strikes and Gauloises have been threatened by the emerging electronic cigarette, adopted by a culture that has been smoking tobacco since the 1500s. An invention attributed to a Chinese inventor and made public in 2004, the rechargeable devices function by allowing users to inhale a vaporized liquid, usually propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, both common products in foods and pharmaceuticals.
The devices do not burn, emitting virtually no toxic or cancer-causing fumes like traditional cigarettes, though the long-term impact of inhaling the vapors remains unclear. Able to maintain the sensation and gesture of smoking without smoke, tar, or nicotine, many attribute their smoking cessation to electronic cigarettes, sparking controversy and debate worldwide.
In France, the so-called e-cigarettes are still a novelty, with several distributors offering the French an alternative in light of changing cultural norms. But the novelty factor is giving way to a potentially booming industry as 500,000 French are already daily users of the devices.
Founded in 2011, the boutique Clopinette has become a leader in the e-cigarette market in France, with 20 stores across the country that could triple in number by the end of the year. They'll also be expanding into Italy and Spain, where the number of smokers isn't far behind that of France.
Business partners Karen Warin and Eric de Goussencourt develop websites for niche products, working in close proximity. When Warin couldn't tolerate her partner's smoking anymore in 2011, he experimented with e-cigarettes and eventually quit traditional combustion cigarettes, inspiring their new online retail site dubbed Clopinette. Literally translating to "diddly squat", the name is also a cutesy play on words for clope, kind of like "ciggie" in French.
"Afterwards, we launched a boutique because people found the website but needed advice, so we thought it was an added value to have a shop to explain the product," Warin said.
Clopinette sources electronic components from China and flavored liquids from France. Their shops feature staff that is specially trained to sell their products and to keep them out of the wrong hands, refusing to sell to children, pregnant women, or non-smokers. E-cigarettes, some containing nicotine and some without, are not yet medically approved by the French government to stop smoking. The marketing is turned more towards smoking differently.
"It's an alternative to smoking, so you have no odor, you keep the same gesture, and you don't bother those around you. And it's a big money saver," she said. Purchasing a single 10mL liquid cartridge for around 6 euros (8 USD) will replace the equivalent of more than 200 cigarettes (or 10 packs), and at nearly 7 euros (9.50 USD) a pack, plus rising taxes, well, you do the math.
The business venture was well-timed. By 2008, smoking inside all public places, including restaurants and clubs, was officially outlawed, marking a turning point for smokers in France. Even Paris's mayor, a smoker, is aiming to clean up the streets this year by imposing fines on those who don't properly snub and dispose of their butts in newly designed trash cans citywide.
Still, despite efforts to discourage smoking including mandatory warnings on packaging (fumer tue, literally "smoking kills"), nearly a third of the country smokes, more than when the first smoking ban went into place. Could the e-cigarette curb these rates?
While some 76% of French smokers have cited the ability of e-cigarettes to help quit smoking the ANSM, France's national medical safety board, refuses to acknowledge e-cigarettes as a medical product to kick nicotine addiction. Axelle de Franssu, communications director for the ASSM, said that the devices are not controlled by the ANSM, unlike anti-smoking patches or gums, and thus cannot be sold in pharmacies. "I don't think manufacturers will be very willing to ask for medical validation," she said, "but if they ask, then we will deal with it."
But according to Warin, e-cigarettes are best kept out of pharmacists' hands, since the products often require technical repairs and other services that could be difficult to address. "I'm not sure that they'll be structured to sell this type of cigarette," she said.
Despite the success stories of those who kicked the habit, studies are needed to establish causality between e-cigarettes and long-term smoking cessation, and more importantly, to identify the potential downsides of the devices. One French study for the ANSM in 2011 points only to the nicotine in some e-cigarettes as dangerous without speculating on the long-term effects of the propylene glycol and other flavored liquids that are vaporized and inhaled. Another studied provided encouraging results on quitting, but only during the course of three months.
While Clopinette boasts that their e-ciagarettes are 1,000 times less toxic than traditional cigarettes, French doctors remain skeptical.
Without any medical disapproval, however, smokers have been lining up at Clopinette. "Consumers are satisfied by the impact of the e-cigarette, either to stop or slow down their smoking habits," Warin said.
Clopinette is poised to take its share of the market with few competitors with physical shops in Paris or the rest of France. And with virtually no negative feedback to date, it seems that, at least externally, everyone is pleased. "It's a way to reconcile the smokers and non-smokers," Warin said.
Photo: GSG/Creative Juice
Feb 14, 2013
Nice to see the French embracing this new trend. There should be plenty of options for them to find an escape from tobacco. eg: http://www.electrictobacconist.fr
Hello As i think,E-cigarette is a alternative smoking device which fulfill the requirement of smoking .They are nicotine delivery devices intended to be used like a cigarette. Electronic cigarette offers nicotine not harmful diseases which actual cigarette does. They contain no tobacco products even the nicotine is synthetic. Thanks. http://www.notaruk.com/
This is a fantastic website and I can not recommend you guys enough. Full of useful resource and great layout very easy on the eyes. Please do keep up this great work. top e cigs 2013
Electronic Cigarettes are the proven number one cessation aides on the market and ever since the FDA has been recording events through there adverse events recording system there have only been 47 reportable cases, with 8 cases only being considered actual adverse events. However, the prescription medication Chantix within its first year of release had more than 272 known reportable suicides, but the FDA still endorses the prescription drug and will not endorse the electronic cigarette, what is wrong with this picture. The Government, like all company's are driven by money and when the big tobacco company's provide the money, then you can see where the alliance begins. Keep the Government out of the electronic cigarette industry business for when the government gets involved, then you can see where it goes.
I know so many people who have quit or reduced their smoking due strictly to ecigs. If you let the govt get involved, they're just going to muck it all up. Ecigs may not be *completely* safe, but we KNOW cigarettes aren't!
...and my first impression was that they were trying to make them look "cool", like they used to promote regular cigarettes. I suppose I can see that as another inducement to get people to give up regular cigarettes for this supposedly healthier alternative. But I also see a downside in that it may also serve to convince weak-minded non-smokers that this is a cool thing for them to do as well. That is certainly [u]not[/u] a step in the right direction.
Why ? ? ? I think it's time we weaned ourselves away from this ridiculous and destructive habit including artificial cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Really, what's the point? (Disclaimer: I am an ex-smoker)
I have been an esmoker for the past 3 years. It is the ONLY thing that has ever worked for me to kick the cigarette habit. Happily, it is a booming ebusiness with a fast-growing market here in the US. Welcome France, Spain and Italy!
The success of Clopinette or any other e-cig brands in cultural centers like Paris is really good for the market. They avoid tobacco, reduce odor and hopefully become "chic," so see E Cig Werks http://ecigwerks.blogspot.com/ for more.
They really aint that cool. You get strange looks popping out out in front of strangers. I doubt that would have much of an effect.
With some time, more studies, and better education, the e-cigarettes could be a stepping stone to do just that, wean current smokers off the habit altogether -- but it's up to lawmakers and the tobacco industry to prevent new smokers in the first place (wishful thinking!).
Insecure people are easily manipulated by shewed marketing, and are more than ready to buy into "cool", even things that are otherwise silly or strange. Just look at pop culture for countless examples. So some insecure teenager or 20-something sees an ad with a smooth-talking, well dressed and sophisticated slightly-older-20-something pulling out his e-cig touting it's health benefits. It worked for traditional cigarettes for the better part of a century...
Once I enjoyed it. Then I didn't enjoy it. Then I stopped. Now I'm over it. If it shows; then it shows. :-)
The thing everyone agrees on is that Nicotine is really really addictive, like moreso than heroin (although heroins withdrawal symptoms are somewhat more dramatic!). The question is what to do about the large number of smokers who simply can't quit because the anxiety and nausea from quitting is too overwhelming for their willpower. Theres really only two ways to go, prohibition or harm reduction.. Prohibition would probably work for someone like me who has no intention of making a criminal of myself and dealing with the seedy world of pushers and fixes, or alternatively there is a harm redution approach of saying "OK we cant get this guy off right now but we can eliminate the harm". Its similar to methadone for heroin addicts, you remove the overdose risks and the poisoning and then when the addict is ready on his OWN terms you wean them off that. The saving life part comes first, the getting clean part comes later when the psychology is right. My plan is as follows;- continue using e-cigarettes till I've ridden out my current bumpy and stressful financial situation, and when I'm feeling comfortable and centered in my life, start on Champix and try and go cold turkey. Others might have their own plans. Some might not even be planning on quitting nicotine at all. But in all these cases, stopping smoking combustable cigarettes will at least remove the specter of emphysema and cancer from their lives.
Unfortunately, lawmakers are part of an administration that is addicted to tax revenues from cigarettes and I don't see the tobacco companies doing the right thing anytime soon. Ultimately, better education might save the day.
Nicotine also has medicinal uses that medical science is just starting to understand. A startling majority of schizophrenics smoke because nicotine helps them function and cope. Subconsciously, they self medicate. Itâs fascinating stuff. If you saw the movie shine with Jeffrey Rush, you will notice that once his character goes into a full blown schizophrenia, he always has a cigarette in his mouth. Some people also smoke as a breathing affirmation. They usually suffered some sort of breathing related trauma as a child (drowning, etc.) and smoking allows them to feel themselves breathe and that in itself becomes very soothing and reassuring. Yes, it is a nasty habit, but sometimes there are more reasons than just addiction for that habit.