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France: One million people quit smoking in a year

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France has seen a dramatic fall in its smoking rate, as one million people quit smoking in the year 2016-17.

The plummeting figures mark the first time the French smoking rate has decreased significantly in more than a decade.

The announcement came from Santé publique France – Public Health France – following a survey which examined the anti-smoking measures the country has adopted in the last ten years.

Neutral packaging on cigarette boxes, reimbursements for people using substitutes to traditional cigarettes, higher cigarette pricing and campaigns like the national tobacco-free month are all said to be responsible for the decline, which is widely being celebrated. 

According to the study,  in 2017 26.9 percent of 18 to 75-year-olds smoked every day, compared with 29.4 percent just a year earlier. This adds up to a significant drop from 13.2 million smokers to 12.2 million over the year-long period.

Agnès Buzyn is the French health minister and he specifically referred to combating the inequalities in life which tobacco has been found to enforce on those with low incomes. 

He said,

“Tobacco is a trajectory of inequality, it weighs particularly on the most disadvantaged and it gets worse”.

France is now in a unique position it has never found itself in before. A country once synonymous with chic cafés and fashionable cigarette holders is finally putting out the smoke. 

Worldwide, smoking still causes one in ten deaths, half of them in just four nations, in China, India, the US and Russia, according to the Lancet.

Meanwhile, Santé publique France have also recently published details of an internet-based study into e-cigarettes, quit attempts and smoking cessation in a six-month follow up on a previous study.  

The findings show that among dual-users, smokers who use an e-cigarettes are more likely to quit or significantly reduce their cigarette consumption in another six months. The results show: 

“Baseline dual users were more likely than baseline exclusive tobacco smokers to have halved cigarette consumption. Dual users at baseline were also more likely to have made a quit attempt of at least 7 days. Among people who smoke, those also using an e-cigarette regularly are more likely to try to quit smoking and reduce their cigarette consumption during the next 6 months.”

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