The “Vape du Coeur” association fights tobacco addiction in French prisons
The goal of the “La Vape du Coeur” (vaping from the heart) project is to help serious smokers quit tobacco. Like the program “restos du coeur” (restaurants from the heart), this non-profit organization offers services to the poor and disadvantaged. Recently, inmates as well as prison employees were able to benefit from free vaping devices, and the operation was deemed a success.
Hichem Abdel envisioned the “La vape Du Coeur” organization in early 2015. His idea was based upon the fact that many e-cigarette users don’t necessarily have the income necessary to purchase a starter kit. As a result, Abdel had the idea of offering free vaping material and e-liquids. Hichem Abdel used his Facebook group dedicated to vaping to collect used (but still functional) vaping products, with the goal of redistributing them to those who most needed them.
Today, the association’s representative in Normandy, Xavier Guyou, celebrates this new initiative in partnership with the University Hospital Centre (CHU) in Caen. Thanks to financial support from the ARS (Regional Health Agency), two prisons in Caen received vaping products for prisoners hoping to quit smoking.
A successful operation that may spread to other prisons
Xavier Guyou, a former smoker, is fully aware of the difficulty of quitting smoking. This professional truck driver smoked over 70 cigarettes per day. Thankfully, he had a sudden change of consciousness when his 9-year old son started to worry about his father’s cough. From that day onwards, Xavier Guyou stopped smoking cigarettes and began vaping. In eighteen months, he was able to wean himself off of nicotine.
The employees in the prisons were encouraged to take part in the project, which was a way to encourage and support the inmates, but also a way to improve the atmosphere within the prison.
So far, the results have been promising. Since May 15, 2018, 193 people have taken part in the “vaping workshop.” In November, Dr. Van der Schueren from CHU in Caen will summarize the results of the operation at the 12th congress for the Francophone Tobacco Society in Montpellier. In the future, other prisons may also benefit from the “Vape du Coeur” initiative.
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