Smoking: the French Are Looking to Kick the Habit, Too

Smoking

CNN reports that a million daily smokers have completely quit the habit in 2017. The total number of France's smokers had dropped from 13.2 million people who smoke cigarettes on a regular basis to 12.2 million, a 7.6 percentage decrease. From 2016 to 2017, that number was higher; 26.9 percent of adults successfully kicked the habit. And total use of tobacco products fell 2.5 percent in 2017. These successive accomplishments are attributed to Europe's National Tobacco Reduction Plan in 2016, which is an initiative to toughen the campaign against smoking. Marisol Touraine, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, rolled out plans to discourage smoking, including the ban of smoking in children's play areas, putting pregnant logos on cigarette packages, and increasing the money reimbursed for nicotine patches and other anti-smoking aids. Her plans go on to ban the flavors and additives that are used to enhance tobacco products, which appears to attract younger consumers, and tobacco companies are also banned from stylizing their product's packaging to further reduce appeal. According to ambafrance.org, there was a radio and internet campaign from May to June of 2016 to go against the notion that cigarettes aren't that harmful to your health, which studies have conclusively disproved, while encouraging smokers to use a provided resource to help them kick the habit, and there was also a "smoke-free" month during 2016's November that challenged users to quit for thirty days. This hopefully motivated participants to stop smoking, all together.

Tobacco takes the lives of 200 people daily in France, or 73,000 victims a year. Worldwide, over one billion people smoke, and the habit claims the lives of 7 million every year according to the World Health Organization. And about eighty percent of users around the world are from low income and middle income countries, which is a testament to the lack of awareness surrounding the use of tobacco products, and also the lack of resources to help those who are hooked quit.

Agnes Buzyn, the Minister of Health, took to Twitter to note the effectiveness of these anti-smoking initiatives and to acknowledge her commitment to the cause.

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