French smokers give up on quitting as 12 million people light up daily: study

MAY 31, 2023 LISTEN

The number of smokers in France is no longer falling with a quarter of the population – 12 million people – saying they smoked cigarettes every day, according to a study published Wednesday to mark World No Tobacco Day.

Carried out by health authority Santé Publique France (SPF), the study found that almost a third of people (31.8 percent) aged between 18 and 75 admitting to smoking, even if they did not light up every day.

The results indicate the prevalence of smoking has stabilised in France after an unprecedented fall between 2016 and 2019 in the number of people smoking up daily.

Pandemic factor

SPF said stress associated with the Covid-19 health crisis may have impacted on people's decision not to ditch the habit.

The study – which was carried out between March and July 2022 and is based on data from a telephone survey of 3,229 adults – found that smoking remained significantly higher among people with lower levels of education.

More than 30 percent of those who had not finished high school and who had no other tertiary qualifications said they smoked. That figure fell to just over 16 percent for those with qualifications.

Smoking rates were also higher among the third of the population with the lowest incomes, while the prevalence of daily smoking remained significantly higher among unemployed people.

Almost 60 percent of daily smokers say they want to quit, with just over 26 percent saying they planned to stop within the next six months.