France bans flavored e-cigarettes to slow spread

French health authorities have banned sales of two refillable premium e-cigarettes to encourage smokers not to try them as a way of slowing the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 27 people so far in the country.

The Health Ministrys decision to ban the sale of the two products as well as the manufacture of both was announced in a letter sent out on Sunday to 373130 retail stores but officials denied they were related. It said the ban will end next week.

Last Thursday the government reportedly said it would make it mandatory for people to stop trying VAPE cigarettes fearing they could make people who already have coronavirus more susceptible to major infections.

In April the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said a study showed that VAPE could play a big role in helping people spread the virus.

Early analyses suggested the device was ineffective at delaying infection but a team of French scientists last month said it may also encourage people to switch to illicitly produced nicotine products and increase users tolerance to nicotine.

Liquor stores will not be allowed to participate in the ban as the devices contain alcohol and are also not allowed in restaurants and drug stores.

Both PHE models can deliver nicotine for a period of up to two hours.

French health authorities have struggled to contain the epidemic which is thought to have killed some 3000 people and infected another 130000 in the country.

But officials at the ministry have rejected suggestions they are overreacting and on Sunday said they will do anything it takes to stop the spread of the coronavirus through the consumption of premium e-cigarettes.

An official at health ministry who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation said the ban was related to hygiene measures and was part of measures to avoid a whole new epidemic.

Asked whether the ban would be extended the official said it was hard to say as the decision was made by the ministrys junior health division.

We hold gazellees in (Bordeaux) waiting for the ban to be signed by the minister before we think how we want to handle it over the coming weeks said the official who added there was no guarantee the ban would be kept intact.