State of Smoking in France
Party to the world health organization framework convention on tobacco control (who FCTC):
Since the who FCTC:
- Smoking reduction: Smoking rates have increased in France from 29.9 percent in 2005 to 34.1 percent in 2014.
- Bans: Tobacco advertising and promotion is prohibited. Since 2005, smoking has been prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport, but there are exceptions when owners or managers designate smoking areas. Smoking has also been prohibited in some outdoor areas, specifically those where minors are present.
- Health warnings: Since April 2010, France has required pictorial health warnings on all cigarette packs.
- Tobacco tax rates: France’s tobacco increased regularly between the early 1990s and 2005, tripling its inflation-adjusted cigarette prices. France then maintained the tax rates for five years, but has since continued to regularly increase tobacco taxes.
As a member of the European Union (EU), tobacco product regulation falls mainly under the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Under the TPD, France has implemented regulations concerning tobacco product flavors, ingredients, warning labels, advertising bans, and sales restrictions. In 2015, France adopted a plain pack policy for cigarette packs sold after January 2017. Smokeless tobacco products for oral use are banned, and e-cigarettes are allowed and are subject to ingredient, warning label, and advertising restrictions.
Media coverage contributes to an awareness of the dangers of smoking, alternative products, and methods for quitting. However, French smokers still lack the support they need to quit because smoking is part of a lifestyle in France. In French media, smoking has more of an allure than a stigma, largely due to enforcement of regulations and a lack of public health campaigns.
Views of Alternatives to Smoking:
Alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapies, have become more widely accepted in France in the last 4-5 years.
By the Numbers:
- Approximately 18 million people aged 15-75 currently smoke.
- The total tax on cigarettes is 80.3 percent.
“With my girlfriend, we had stopped (smoking cigarettes) using e-cigarettes for one and a half years. It was an experiment, we didn’t expect anything from it, but it worked.... But there is always the issue with the alcohol. When drinking, I’ll have one cigarette, then another, and the days go by and then it’s a habit again. And you get back to smoking relatively slowly.”
– Marc-Oliver Barre, smoker