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(Almost) Healthier Options in Paris

May 2014

By Stephanie Wells, Paris

Poor Parisians. Life can be so rough, so thank goodness for their daily doses of baguette and wine. Yet there is a new “health” craze afoot that defies their proudest traditional habits. “Health” is in quotation marks, because, well, the surge in e-cigarettes and weight loss supplements could be lifestyle improvements at face value, but only just.

Over the past 18 months, a tidal wave of e-cigarettes has engulfed the Parisian smoking set. While previously one could barely catch one’s breathe on café terraces, heaving with cigarette smoke, the new, nearly odorless electronic cigarettes deliver a nicotine punch allegedly without the nasty chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. Slick boutiques, like Smoky Shop and Clopinette have sprung up seemingly overnight, selling a variety of colors, motifs and accessories. Despite its rampant popularity, the e-cigarette’s effectiveness at helping to quit smoking is altogether yet unproven.

Taking the paradox a step further, in 2013, Paris closed some of its most heavily used underpasses to motorized traffic in an effort to reduce pollution (see our article on Les Berges). The Smart Car, the famously tiny auto made by Hambach, has recently introduced an electric version to the market. Showcased at the Sustainable Development Week the Smart Electric Drive is cute, green and compact. But does it respond to the city’s wider issues of traffic and parking? In theory, mais oui. But in practice, to be continued…

The Parisian youth are increasingly lured into sports as well, but in the seemingly most backwards of ways. Candy giant Haribo held a Marathoons fun run for children under the shade of the Eiffel Tower, ostensibly to encourage healthier habits. However, the lure of gummy candy was hard to overlook as an incentive for the little runners to cross the finish line.

As French women are icons of beauty and elegance, they can take their weight loss regimens quite seriously. Among the weight loss products crammed onto pharmacy shelves, second are wide ranges of anti-cellulite creams. One called VICHY Cellu Destock contains 6% caffeine, and the extra punch is supposed to increase circulation, thereby reducing cellulite (in theory).

From kind-of quitting smoking, to sort-of reducing traffic, to taking measures to maintain a pleasing figure, Parisians almost, just about, have a grasp on the green, healthy living lifestyle.

Haribo-sponsored mini-marathon for children in Paris
Free tastings offered at ecigarette shops in Paris
VICHY anti-cellulite cream with caffeine

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