Le Pr Benoît Vallet, now a magistrate at the Court of Auditors, was from 2013 to 2018 the Director General of Health under Marisol Touraine, then in charge of this ministry. A few days ago, he was the guest of our colleagues from the newspaper " Libération To talk about the electronic cigarette. Indeed, it was he who piloted the arrival and then the diffusion of vaping in France, by creating a working group. He remains one of the best and most independent experts on this issue.
In this half-fig and half-grape interview, the Pr Benoît Vallet obviously tries to defend the electronic cigarette while inviting caution and a certain vigilance on the subject.
“Vaping is a recent practice, it is ten years old, which does not yet allow an extraordinary decline. "
Regarding the health crisis that clearly targets the vape in the United States, Benoit Vallet seems to want to defuse the "bomb" effect: " To speak of hysteria is a little exaggerated… The cause, we know it: these declarations of pulmonary diseases in the United States, of which several hundreds of respiratory disorders related to inhalations of fatty products, and nearly 30 deaths. The most probable hypothesis involves inhaled products containing THC [tetrahydrocannabinol is the main active molecule in cannabis, editor's note], but also vitamin E acetate, knowing that these products do not circulate in France or in Europe. »
According to him, this subject is causing real concern among vapers: " This sequence gives rise to mistrust and concern in health care circles and even within vapers. And then vaping is a recent practice, she is ten years old, which does not yet allow an extraordinary decline. Remember that it takes an average of fifteen to twenty years to start cancer, and around five to ten years for heart disease. Staying alert is the least of things. »
Professor Benoit Vallet tempers his remarks all the same by specifying that the electronic cigarette makes it possible to obtain results in smoking cessation: " Recently, figures released by the Pr David Levy show that if there are more young people interested in vaping, the number of young smokers has decreased. These studies do not show that vaping facilitates entry into smoking. »
“We have certainties, the data is there. In terms of public health, it is better to promote vaping than tobacco. "
A real financial windfall, the vaping sector must today be the subject of a certain vigilance according to Professor Vallet: » The vaping business has become important, it has grown a lot, and it is healthy to remain cautious about this new industrial lobby. Vaping indeed weighs more than 25 billion dollars [22,6 billion euros] in the world, and in a few years, it will weigh more than a billion in France, which ranks third behind the United States. and the British. «
Finally, Prof. Benoit Vallet explains: » For those who wish to quit, vaping is the best solution. And finally, via vaping, as we see with the Vape Summit, we have anti-smoking activists. It's new, it's essential. And this gives unprecedented visibility with regard to public health. »