The World No Tobacco Day takes place on May 31st 2017. The French Public Health Agency (Santé Publique France) has published in this special occasion the results of its 2016 Barometer.
This survey, which has interviewed 15 000 people aged 15 to 75 in France, shows high tobacco rates and rising figures among the most disadvantaged social classes.
More than one third of the adult population (34.5%) smoked last year, out of which 29% smoked on a daily basis. After a 2 point-increase between 2005 and 2010, these figures have been rather stable since 2010. Daily use has decreased since 2010 among men aged 25 to 34 and among women aged 15-24. Despite those punctual reductions, figures remain higher than most developed countries. In the United States and in Australia for example, smokers represent only 15% of the adult population.
Moreover, tobacco is becoming a marker of social status. The study reveals that among low-income people and among people with no high-school diploma, smokers are on the rise. For people without a diploma, tobacco use goes up from 24 to 39% and for people with low income, it increases from 35.2% to 37.5%. On the contrary, tobacco use has decreased among people with at least a high school diploma (23 to 21%) and among the highest incomes (23.5 to 21%).
For Viêt Nguyen-Thanh, the head of the ‘Addictions’ division of the Health Agency, the “problem has only been addressed by health authorities since 2014”. Many measures of the National plan for the reduction of tobacco use – increased refund of nicotine substitutes, campaign ‘Month / Myself without tobacco’ and neutral packaging – have not yet paid off. Their effectiveness will only be measured during the next Barometer.
What about vaping?
Let’s focus on another interesting point of this report: the decrease of vaping. It went down from 5.9% in 2014 to 3.3% in 2016. Despite this global reduction, daily vaping has not decreased that much. The Barometer shows that 41.2% of the vapers have totally quit smoking, which is a steady increase compared with 2014.
Viêt Nguyen-Thanh unfortunately nurtures the global defiance of Health Authorities towards vaping. She talked about ‘many scientific controversies concerning the efficiency of e-cigarette to quit smoking’. However, she clearly stated that today “there is no formal proof concerning the harm of these products”. And professor Dautzenberg, who was interviewed by France Info following the publication of the report advises to “make no mistake. You will not find one study that shows that the electronic cigarette has toxic levels approaching those of cigarette smoke”.