Disposable electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, especially with young people. To differentiate them, they are often called Puff, or Puff Bar. Why are they so attractive? Are they of good quality? Can we trust the e-liquids they contain? Is it a fad or a new form of electronic cigarette? What about their ecological balance sheet?

What is a disposable e-cigarette?

Concretely, disposable electronic cigarettes look like small pods, whose cartridges would be integrated, and not interchangeable. The body of a Puff contains 3 sealed elements:

  • A battery
  • An electronic protection module
  • A cartridge of e-liquid with a resistance. 

They are always automatic and maintenance-free: all you have to do is suck to produce steam. When there is no more e-liquid, it is thrown away, ideally into a battery recycling collector. 

Their price varies from 5 to 15€, depending on their shape and their autonomy, from 200 to 800 puffs, or the equivalent of 10 to 50 cigarettes (counting 15 puffs per cigarette).

Their e-liquid may or may not contain nicotine. If so, it’s still nicotine salt, a form that tingles less than regular nicotine. 

They are sold with three arguments: 

  • Ease of use
  • The price is lower than cigarettes
  • The possibility of trying the vape easily

Are these arguments justified?

Overall yes. Disposable cigarettes are simple, there is no maintenance, and they are still economical compared to tobacco cigarettes. They allow you to vape easily for trying out, or for occasional vapers.

However, they also raise a few questions, which deserve to be discussed and deepened: 

  • Is the quality of vaping there?
  • Is the sanitary quality of e-liquids guaranteed?
  • What is their impact on the environment and the climate?
  • Can young people become addicted to it?
  • What is their cost compared to a traditional electronic cigarette?

How to ensure the quality of the vape and the sanitary quality?

About ten years ago, the first disposable e-cigarettes, were disappointing. Little vapour, little taste, few puffs.

Since then, manufacturers have made a lot of progress. Current disposable electronic cigarettes can therefore be of good quality, but this is not always the case.

You know the principle: recognized brands innovate and offer good quality equipment. Then other opportunistic brands rush into the vein, and their priority is not to satisfy customers over the long term.

Three criteria should therefore be monitored before buying: 

  • Manufacturing quality: reliability of the e-cigarette, resistance to falls, etc.
  • The quality of the vaporization device: faithful expression of the flavours, the intensity of the vapour, and efficiency of the delivery of nicotine…
  • The quality of e-liquids: flavours, exact composition, manufacturing quality…

Given the large number of brands that market puffs today, it is impossible to list them and pass judgment on their qualities, without having tried them, and without having analyzed their e-liquid, which is not within everyone’s reach.

The only way to choose them without risk is to rely seriously on recognized manufacturers and the sales network. In other words, French or European sellers must respect the law, and they have no interest in selling unapproved or even illegal puffs. Choose instead: 

Manufactured by many brands, the legislation obliges to respect CE quality standards.

Any e-liquids, for the same reasons. This is the only way to ensure standard sanitary quality. E-liquid manufacturers in Europe are indeed required to declare the composition of their e-liquids, to ANSES for example, in France. 

Buy in a physical or online shop, French or European (or British), always for the same reasons.

Discard the Puff Bars sold on the networks, and on the platforms which accept sellers who do not respect the European rules: you then know nothing about the sanitary quality of the e-liquids.

What is the environmental and social impact of disposable electronic cigarettes?

The Puff and the climate

Even if a Puff can be of very good quality, this question remains the black point of disposable e-cigarettes. Indeed, apart from the plastic materials from which they are made, they mainly contain a battery, which is very polluting if it is not carefully recycled.

In return, all the brands encourage their customers to recycle their Puffs, and more generally their electronic cigarettes and their bottles of e-liquid.

It is therefore important to recycle your Puffs, and you can easily find a collection point near you with the “ ecosystem ” site, by requesting or recycling an “electronic device less than 25cm”

One question remains: is it eco-responsible to produce disposable devices these days? And buy them? Okay, they’re handy, but are they necessary? This deserves at least reflection, on the part of manufacturers and consumers.

The Puff and the young people

The puffs also raise questions through their success with young people. It is indeed very easy to get a disposable e-cig on social networks, which poses two problems:

  • Minors can buy it, as long as they can use a payment card while vaping is prohibited for those under 18.
  • Young people can buy puffs which are not authorized in Europe because they contain too much nicotine, 50mg/ml for example.

This is the main concern. The fact that young people can so easily buy puffs with high levels of nicotine does not fall within the scope of the vocation of the electronic cigarette: to help quit smoking.

For example, it has been proven that the classic electronic cigarette does not encourage young people to smoke. On the contrary, those who try the e-cigarette before smoking, without nicotine, are less likely to smoke at 18 years old. And those who already smoke quit tobacco more easily by trying an electronic cigarette. Indeed young people are still very little dependent on nicotine, they can stop easily.

On the other hand, vaping an e-liquid in 50mg/ml of nicotine salt has the opposite effect: such a high dosage would possibly be suitable to help a smoker of more than 2 packs of cigarettes per day. In a young person, this dosage can only create or reinforce a nicotine addiction.

From this point of view, the puffs are not a problem in themselves. It is the fact that, on social networks, unscrupulous sellers sell illegal puffs in Europe, with nicotine levels far too high for young people, which poses a problem.

It is therefore important that these young vapers know that:

  • If they do not smoke, or if they have recently smoked, they do not need nicotine in their e-liquid. The sensation of vapour is sufficient.
  • If they smoke and want to use an electronic cigarette to quit, then it is counterproductive to choose such a high level of nicotine salt, which can only reinforce their addiction. 20mg/ml is more than enough at first, to go to 10mg/ml and then to zero gradually.

In conclusion

Without taking into account its ecological impact, a puff is, therefore, an excellent choice for trying vaping easily, and for occasional vapers, who thus avoid the maintenance of an electronic cigarette. On the other hand, it is advisable to choose a puff of good quality, in a safe sales circuit.

An electronic cigarette kit requires a little maintenance and a slightly larger investment at the start. In the long term, it offers two decisive advantages: a much lower cost than puffs, and a much wider choice of e-liquid flavours. As a bonus, your impact on the climate is more reasonable!