Electronic cigarette: should I forbid it to my teenager?

No need to keep the suspense too long. Bernard Antoine, psychologist and addictologist (1) is categorical: "the electronic cigaretteis like getting out of prison with an electronic bracelet, it displaces the problem, failing to resolve it ". The cigarette 2.0 for its smoking teen, a false good idea, then? "Absolutely".

Reflexes, situations, behaviors, which make smokers addicted

First, "because studies on the long-term effects of electronic cigarettes are still opaque", says Bernard Antoine. And even if scientists would finally judge it definitively "out of danger", it keeps addicts in their behavioral dependence. That’s "You have to understand that smoking are addicted to a set of parameters, initiates the professional. Among them, MAOI, the antidepressant present in cigarettes, nicotine, tobacco but also and above all behaviors, situations (coffees, aperitifs) and reflexes ".

If you remove the MAOI and perhaps tobacco and nicotine (depending on the options you choose with your electronic cigarette) - and which are already a big step for smokers -, you still keep the addiction gestures. Gestures, which them, bring or bring back gradually to the traditional cigarette. Snake biting its tail when you hold us. Better to stop the classic cigarette according to him, without moving the problem by turning to his electronic cousin.


Christie Nester (2), child psychiatrist agrees. Especially as the problem today is that the pattern is changing. "Adults use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking, when young people start there today. And if we take the example of Juul - which now gives a fashion dimension to vapotage, once cheesy in young people - all its bottles have the same dosage of nicotine. This cigarette is therefore absolutely not made to encourage people to reduce then stop ". But at the same time, it is surely less harmful to health than a traditional cigarette ... Snake biting its tail, we told you.

"You don't fight addictive behavior with a ban"

The solution, prohibit it to our adolescents then? You are not there either. "You can't fight addictive behavior with a ban," says the tobacco specialist. Especially not when it comes to teenagers, who only ask for one thing: to defy the prohibitions. Better to focus on prevention (better prevention than cure, says the saying), information and support. It is said !

(1) Bernard Antoine, psychologist and addictologist in Paris.

(2) Christie Nester, child psychiatrist in Paris and Arcachon.

E-cigarettes: An Emerging Public Health Challenge (August 2020)


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