For the first time since 2010, the number of smokers in France has gone down. The government recently announced the news, citing a major drop in tobacco consumption. In 2017, one million people stopped smoking nationally. The reason for the notable drop in smokers is due to numerous factors and the exact cause has yet to be determined.
Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn celebrated the “historic” drop in the number of smokers in France. The number rose in between 2005 and 2010, and has been stagnating ever since. Indeed, the reduction of smokers in the past year is a very encouraging sign for health organizations. The price hike for tobacco is one of the main reasons for the shift, but credence must also be given to the electronic cigarette.
Today, 26.9% of adults smoke in France, compared to 29.4% during the previous year. In the government’s opinion, a higher tobacco tax rate is the primary reason for this major shift. Due to the significant increase of the price of a pack of cigarettes, people with modest means are consuming much less.
Fewer young people are smoking cigarettes
The Minister of Health celebrates this major shift in public behavior. She spoke of tobacco as “one of the biggest scourges to public health”. Cigarettes kill approximately 200 people per day in France. The hope is that the number of smokers will continue to drop in 2018.
The latest studies are optimistic. They show that young people, and especially students, are the least likely to smoke cigarettes. However, it remains hard to know the reason for this shift—is it because of neutral cigarette packs, No Tobacco Month, the raising of taxes, or the development of the electronic cigarette?
For its part, the government still does not recognize the electronic cigarette as an effective means of quitting tobacco.The French Minister of Health believes that the device does not allow people to “completely quit tobacco”.