(CTN News) – France’s recent anti-smoking initiative, a comprehensive four-year plan, was revealed by Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau.
The strategy involves extending smoking bans to beaches, outdoor areas near schools, and government-owned forests, alongside significant cigarette price hikes.
While rates in France have been decreasing, the government aims to accelerate this trend, making “no-smoking areas the norm” and addressing public health concerns associated with smoking.
The list of spaces will include:
- Areas outside schools
- Around schools
The plan builds on existing indoor smoking prohibitions in public spaces since 2007, expanding restrictions to outdoor locations like beaches and school surroundings.
Local bans on beaches and school perimeters, which were previously at the discretion of local authorities, will become national laws by the first half of 2024.
Government-owned forest and green spaces, where fire risks from discarded cigarettes have been a concern, will also be subject to smoking bans. The move aligns with the government’s commitment to promoting healthier behaviors and preventing environmental hazards.
Cigarette Price Surge Amidst Declining Smoking Rates: Key Findings and Geographical Variances
Simultaneously, the plan introduces significant increases in cigarette prices, with a packet of 20 cigarettes set to rise to €12 in 2025 and €13 in 2026.
The current average price stands at €10.50, having steadily increased from €3.20 in 2000, primarily driven by tax hikes to discourage smoking.
Despite a steady decline in rates, a recent study by Santé publique France revealed that a quarter of French adults still smoke daily.
Men are more likely to smoke than women, with the percentage of daily smokers plateauing at 25% since the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting a coping mechanism during stressful times.
While France’s rates are higher than the EU average, they remain lower than some European nations such as Bulgaria, Greece, and Hungary.
Geographically, the northern Hauts-de-France region has the highest rates, while Parisians in the Île-de-France region are the least likely to smoke.
The government’s multifaceted approach also includes the recent ban on disposable vapes, aimed at curbing youth initiation into smoking. As the plan seeks to reshape the country’s smoking culture, it reflects a broader commitment to public health and environmental well-being.