State of Smoking in France | Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

state of smoking in france

This page was last edited on: January 5, 2023

smoking rate

24% (2019)


  • France achieved a significant reduction of 4.3 percentage points in its current adult (15+ age) smoking prevalence rate (28.3% in 2014 to 24% in 2019) and had 13% or 2 million fewer smokers (15.3 million in 2014 to 13.3 million[1] in 2019) within five years. (See Figure 1)
  • The reduction in smoking prevalence can be seen in most age groups, with the exception of young smokers (15-19 years old) and older female smokers (55-64 years old). (See Figure 1)
  • 27.4% of men and 20.8% of women (15+ years old) were current smokers in 2019. (See Figure 1)
  • The prevalence rate for young smokers increased from 23.3% in 2014 to 30.3% in 2019, with higher increases in females (19.2% to 27.6%) versus males (27.1% to 33%) (See Figure 1). In consequence, the number of young smokers[2] increased by 37% or 333,805 from 909,790 in 2014 to 1,243,595 in 2019.
  • In 2019, 33.3% of daily smokers aged 18 and 75 years old made an attempt to quit smoking for at least a week in the last year. This rate is higher than the rates of quit attempts made in 2018 (24.9%) and in 2014 (28.1%).

(Figure 1) Smoking of tobacco products by sex and age, France, 2014 and 2019

Current Smokers by Age Group
2014- 2019,
(Click to enlarge)

Current Male Smokers by Age Group
2014- 2019
(Click to enlarge)

Current Female Smokers by Age Group
2014- 2019
(Click to enlarge)

Source: EUROSTAT 2019


  • 6.6% or about 3.66 million adults (15+ years old) were current e-cigarette users in 2019, where 3.4% vaped daily. Among European Union Member States (27 countries), France had the second-highest prevalence rate of vaping in 2019 after Iceland.
  • E-cigarette consumption was higher in younger age groups and declined with aging after 34 years of age. The daily vaping rate by age groups displayed a normal distribution as it increased between ages 15 and 44 and started declining after reaching its peak of 5.6% in the 35-44 age group. Data suggests that youth smokers may be in an experimental stage with e-cigarettes, as 10.3% used e-cigs occasionally while only 2.1% used them daily. (See Figure 2)

(Figure 2) Use of electronic cigarettes by age groups, France, 2019

Source: EUROSTAT 2019

  • E-cigarette use appeared to be higher among more educated groups, as 5.9% of people with less than primary and lower secondary education levels (levels 0-2) were current users, while prevalence rates were 7.8% and 7.1% respectively for upper secondary (level 3-4) and tertiary education (level 5-8) groups.


  • Annual cigarette consumption has been falling steadily between 2004 and 2020 – down by 40% (from 53.8 packs to 32.4 packs) per adult (age 15+) and down by 35% (from 175.2 packs to 114.3 packs) per smoker (age 15+) respectively. (See Figure 3)
  • Among daily smokers (18-75 years old), men consumed an average of 13.5 cigarettes per day and women consumed 11.4 per day in 2019.

(Figure 3) Cigarette consumption (Packs) per smoker/adult (age 15+), France, 2004 – 2020

Source: Cigarette consumption by Europa. EU (last accessed in August 2022), number of smokers by GBD IHME database 2019 and 15+ population extracted by WB HNP database


  • Tobacco use remains the highest risk factor that drives the most death and disability combined between 2009 and 2019.
  • It is estimated that although tobacco claimed 3% more lives between 2009 (80,373) and 2019 (83,001), the cost of its disease burden (Disease Adjusted Life Years – DALYs) remained almost constant between 2009 (2,033,691 DALYs) and 2019 (2,038,684 DALYs).


  • France ratified the WHO FCTC in October 2004. France was evaluated by WHO to have ‘complete measure’ on monitoring, health warnings and mass media restrictions and taxation, ‘moderate measure’ on cessation programs and advertising bans, and ‘minimal meausre’ on smoke-free environments.
  • The Public Health code adopted in 2016 includes regulations on e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes with and without nicotine are subject to same regulations (e.g. advertising, age restrictions, health warnings on packages, and public place use).
  • E-cigarette advertisement and sponsorships are heavily restricted, almost equal to combustible tobacco advertisement restrictions. E-cigarette usage is banned in public places, and health warnings are required to occupy 30% of both surfaces of packages. The nicotine content of vaping products is restricted to less than or equal to 20 milligrams per milliliter.
  • Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) are considered tobacco products but are regulated as “novel tobacco” products. In consequence, HTPs are subject to less strict regulations as compared with cigarettes – for example, advertising and free sampling at specialist stores are allowed. However, using HTPs are banned in public places and subject to same advertisement ban as cigarettes.


  • In July 2021, total tax (excise and VAT combined) on the weighted average price for a pack of cigarettes was 84.76%, where 68% was the excise (specific and ad valorem) tax. The most popular cigarette brand was €10.5/pack, while the weighted average price was estimated as €9.70/pack.
  • Currently no excise taxes are applied on e-cigarettes.
  • Excise taxes on HTPs include a specific rate of €3 per kg of tobacco weight or 1000 pieces and an ad valorem rate of 51.4% on retail selling prices in 2020 and 2021. The excise tax share on retail price (€7 in 2020) of HTPs was 60.3%.[3] As compared with combustible cigarettes, HTPs are subject to relatively lower excise tax rates as illustrated in the figure shown.

(Figure 4) Excise and VAT share (%) on Price of Cigarettes and HTPs

  • According to the Excise Duty Tables, France has been increasing its revenues from tobacco products since 2008, with a 50% increase from €9550.43 million in 2008 to €14319 million in 2020. Although cigarettes generate the bulk of this revenue (82% or €11725 million in 2020), its share in total tobacco revenues went down from its peak of 87% in 2015.

(Figure 5) Tax revenue from tobacco products (millions EUR), France, 2008 – 2020

  • Illicit trade represented 28% of legal sales in 2020 according to Euromonitor International (2022), doubling between 2008 and 2020.

(Figure 6) Cigarette excise revenue (million EUR) and illicit trade (%)

Source: Euromonitor International 2022, European Commission, August 2021

  • Based on the Global Illicit Trade Environmental Index[4], France was ranked the 18th leading country in the globe with a score of 73.8 out of 100 in 2018. This index is built around four main categories, among which France scores high on Government Policies[5] and Customs Environment[6] but falls behind on the Transparency & Trade[7] and Supply & Demand[8] categories


(Figure 7) Illicit Trade Environment Index, France

Main Categories of ITEI & France’s Score

[1] Adult population (15+ age) was 54.2 million in 2014 and 55.4 million in 2019. Data accessed in January 2023.
[2] Population for male (15-19 years old)  was 1,908,356 in 2014 and 1,990,884 in 2019, and population for females (15 – 19 years old) was 2,005,114 in 2014 and 2,103,368 in 2019. Data accessed in January 2023.
[3] Specific is €0.62/pack and ad valorem €3.60, a total excise value of €4.22/pack of 20 pieces.
[4] The index is a measure of the extent to which economies enable or inhibit illicit trade through their policies and initiatives to combat illicit trade.
[5] Government Policy measures the availability of policy and legal approaches to monitoring and preventing illicit trade.
[6] Customs Environment measures how effectively an economy’s customs service manages its dual mandate to facilitate licit trade while also preventing illicit trade.
[7] Transparency & Trade measures an economy’s transparency as regards illicit trade and the degree to which it exercises governance over its free-trade zones (FTZs) and transshipments.
[8] Supply & Demand measures the domestic environment that encourages or discourages the supply of and demand for illicit goods, including the level of corporate taxation and social security burdens, the quality of state institutions, labor market regulations, and perceptions of the extent to which organized crime imposes costs on business.

As research findings become available that are inclusive of additional gender identities, the Foundation will update the information presented. 

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