Study Suggests One Million People In France Gave Up Smoking Last Year


An astonishing one million Frenchmen and women decided to ditch the hazardous habit of daily smoking last year. That's according to a new report recently published by the French Department of Public Health.

One of the major reasons health experts believe the French are beginning to give up smoking in droves has to do with the higher taxes imposed on cigarette use. Study authors also attribute this massive drop to unique anti-smoking strategies enforced by the French government.

According to this new research, about 27 percent of people in France between the ages of 18 – 75 smoked every day in 2017. By contrast, 29.4 percent of people in this age bracket were daily smokers in 2016. In real numbers, that's a drop from 13.2 million smokers in 2016 to 12.2 million in 2017.

Over the past few years, French health officials put together the National Tobacco Reduction Plan to discourage people from picking up the smoking habit in the first place. A few successful measures lawmakers put into place include requiring all cigarette packaging to be as bland as possible and to ban flavored additives. Research has shown that young people are more drawn to cigarette boxes with flashy advertisements and fancy flavored cigarettes.

Another way lawmakers helped discourage people from picking up a pack of cigarettes was to put a tax hike on them. After officials raised the price of a box of cigarettes by one euro, cigarette sales swiftly dropped by about 20 percent.

Researchers believe this tax hike was the primary reason poorer people in France gave up smoking in greater numbers last year. Since this strategy worked so well, French public health authorities want to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by ten euros in the next two years.

Sadly, there are still a great many smokers in France suffering from their habit. At least 73,000 people die every year in France due directly to smoking.

The regions of France with the highest number of smokers include the Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Occitaine, and Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur. Areas below the national average of smokers include Pays de la Loire and Île de France.

While the French are known around the world for smoking at cafés, smoking is a far larger health crisis in other nations. According to the World Health Organization, the archipelago of Kiribati has the highest number of smokers with (an estimated 52 percent of the adult population). Other nations with high numbers of smokers include Nauru, Greece, Timor-Leste, Serbia, and Jordan.

In case you were wondering, Nordic nations like Sweden and Denmark tend to have the lowest number of smokers in the world. Along with Scandinavia, a few other countries with low rates of smoking include Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Recent estimates suggest about 1.1 billion people around the world are daily smokers. Along with alcohol, smoking is one of the top preventable risk factors for many life-threatening diseases. Approximately 7 million smokers die each year from complications related to their habit.

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