They have the will, the desire, but putting out their last cigarette is not easy. Nearly 12 million French people smoke daily. Among them, nearly 6 out of 10 want to stop, according to data from the Public Health Barometer France 2021.
To help them, this Wednesday, November 1 marks the launch of the eighth edition of the challenge Tobacco free month. This operation, in partnership with Public Health France and the Ministry of Health, encourages smokers to stop smoking for 30 days, by making several tools available to them.
“I sleep much better”
“After 10 months of quitting and a relapse last September,” Alain decided to try the Tobacco Free Month challenge again this Wednesday. “I’m starting again to get rid of this poison once and for all. It shouldn’t be too difficult, because I remember the well-being of no longer being dependent (breath, sleep, dynamism, etc.),” he says on the support Facebook group. “For my health I’m stopping smoking. #TobaccoFreeMonth ». Dominique also slowed down his consumption, before starting his Tobacco-Free Month. “These last few days, I’ve been sleeping a lot better,” he notes on the same Facebook group.
Effects documented by health insurance : 24 hours after smoking your last cigarette, carbon monoxide is completely eliminated from your body, your lungs begin to expel smoke residue and your body no longer contains nicotine (a withdrawal syndrome may then appear). Within days, your taste and smell improve, you breathe better, and your energy increases.
More than 162,000 registered in 2022
Like Alain and Dominique, there are thousands of French people trying the adventure. Tobacco Free Month brings together more than 115,000 registrants this year as of October 31. In 2022, 162,012 smokers registered on the Tobacco Free Month website. Since 2016, more than 1.2 million people have taken up the challenge. “A month without tobacco increases the chances of quitting smoking permanently by five,” estimates Public Health France.
According to OECD modeling, the operation would reduce health spending by an average of 94 million euros per year between 2023 and 2050 (for a cost per year of around 12 million euros). By 2050, Tobacco-Free Month would help prevent: 241,000 cases of lower respiratory infections, 44,000 cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 28,000 cases of cancer.
12.6 cigarettes per day on average
In 2022, in mainland France, almost a third of people aged 18-75 reported smoking (31.8%), and a quarter daily (24.5%). This represents nearly 15 million smokers, including 12 million daily smokers. The latter report consuming on average 12.6 cigarettes per day, a stable figure compared to 2021 and 2019.
Consumption levels remain significantly higher among the least educated and/or unemployed. Furthermore, smoking has significantly decreased among adolescents from 25.1% of daily smokers among young people aged 17 to 15.6% in 2022. Men continue to smoke more than women (27.4% daily smoking, compared to 21.7%).
75,000 deaths per year
Tobacco still remains the leading cause of avoidable mortality in France, with 75,000 deaths per year.
At the same time, we are seeing an increase in the number of vapers. In 2022, 5.5% of 18-75 year olds say they vape every day. A stable figure compared to 2021. However, the number of users of electronic cigarettes has increased since 2016 when we recorded 2.5% of daily vapers.