Equivalent to 18 packs of cigarettes, the new 9K puff is addicting teenagers and altering their brains

Equivalent to 18 packs of cigarettes, the new 9K puff is addicting teenagers and altering their brains

It’s the new thing in playgrounds, middle and high school. The 9K puff, much more powerful than the classic puff, represents the equivalent of 18 packs of smoked cigarettes. Should we be worried? The point of view of Dr Olivier Galera, addictologist specializing in tobacco.

Much more powerful than the original version of the puff, the 9K is already used by many adolescents. Colorful, with fragrant and sweet tastes, it would already be all the rage in middle and high schools. Problem: very concentrated in nicotine, it would be the equivalent of 18 packs of cigarettes and it can be smoked very quickly, sometimes in a week!

A way to get teenagers addicted to nicotine

The problem with puffs or 9K puffs is their nicotine content, which quickly makes young people addicted to nicotine. “The principle of these devices is still based on the foundations of what has made the tobacco industry successful: not the sale of cigarettes, nor even the sale of tobacco, but the sale of the alkaloid naturally present in the tobacco leaf, nicotine. This substance proves to be the most addictive drug available on the market – legal or illegal – when delivered quickly to the brain, which is achieved by inhaling the smoke or vapor.” deplores Dr Olivier Galera, tobacco specialist.

Damage to the brains of young people

These new devices have everything to create a “generation of nicotine addicts“, because the substance leads, as the specialist points out, to an addiction “harder than that to heroin”. But according to our expert, puffs also contribute to the alteration of the brains of young people, particularly among those under the age of 25 years old, before the maturation of certain brain areas.

When the brain is exposed to nicotine, which is a powerful neurotoxic insecticide on the basis of neonicotinoid pesticides, it alters the brain and in particular certain brain areas such as the ventral tegmental area, involved in the mechanisms of attention, concentration, memorizing and managing emotions. In people exposed to nicotine before the age of 25, we also see atrophy of the cerebral cortex, visible on MRI, and alterations in higher cognitive and intellectual abilities. specifies the doctor.

Products soon to be banned?

According to the latest government announcements on this subject, the puff should soon be banned, thus reinforcing the fact that it is already prohibited for sale to under 18s. A ban not always respected, as Dr Olivier Galera recalls, emphasizing “that a large number of young people obtain them from tobacconists, which poses a problem with regard to the application of the protective ban on sales to minors under 18”.