The fight against tobacco has been a major subject for more than three decades in the UK. France Info explains the different measures that have been implemented over the years. Their objective is quite simple: bring smokers to get rid of their smoking habit. And they have been quite successful in doing so. These initiatives range from the price increase of the cigarette pack to the tobacco cessation encouragement through e-cigarettes. They could very well be imitated by other countries, such as France, in the future.
The most radical measure to discourage smokers concerns the tobacco price. In the UK, the cigarette pack price is the most expensive in Europe: 10 pounds, around 10.80 euros. This is on average 4€ more than in France for example. The British government has actually constantly brought the price up since the early 1980s. In 2017, the pack should again increase, this time by 35 pence. This rise is by 2 points superior to the current inflation.
Smokers also have to fear harsh financial penalties. People who smoke in public spaces actually face a 200-pound fine.
Successful anti-tobacco measures
This legal framework has actually been quite successful. Tobacco use decreased from 45% in 1974 to a mere 17% today, which is the lowest level ever reached. The British authorities strongly encourage smokers who wish to stop smoking. And this is part of the reason why tobacco use has gone down. Smoking cessation centers offer an extensive medical monitoring. In 2015, 500.000 Brits stopped smoking thanks to their help.
Besides, the electronic cigarette is more positively perceived in the UK than in many other European countries. It’s actually considered as a tobacco cessation device and can be prescribed by a Doctor and reimbursed by Social Security.