Anti-smoking campaigns are designed to raise awareness of smoking risks in particular in younger populations. In 2016, the French Ministry of Health rolled out “Mois Sans Tabac” or “Tobacco-Free Month”. The 2017 campaign is underway. This campaign was inspired by the UK’s Stoptober initiative.
Tobacco-Free Month has the backing of the French Health authorities and Health Insurance system and aims to encourage students to quit smoking for a month… or more if possible. The campaign is designed to help younger smokers initiate a paradigm shift to stop a bad habit which may not yet be fully adopted psychologically.
A recent study by Opinion Way for the SMEREP revealed that 26 % of students admitted to smoking regularly. When it comes to high-school, 15% declared smoking occasionally or regularly. Smoking prevention campaigns must target younger smokers to cut this trend.
Tobacco-free Month: only half-adopted
While the campaign has seen another year, its efficacy remains to be confirmed. Raising awareness with distributed anti-smoking kits and televised sports events has reduced the rate of smokers down to 4% from 2016. However, there are still 20 % of total students, and 30 % of high-school students, who declared they have no plans to quit any time soon. Last year, this rate was at 50%.
Of all the reasons given to quit smoking, health concerns are at the top of the list. 62 % of students and 47 % of high-schoolers seem to be susceptible to the “shock value” of anti-smoking messages on cigarette packets. Financial reasons are the second-most cited to reduce tobacco consumption. With packs expected to cost 10€ by 2020, maybe more will be convinced to quit.
While the success of Tobacco-Free Month remains limited in scope, multiplying awareness campaigns and preventive measures may, in the long term, help younger smokers change their bad habits.