One million French smokers kicked the habit in 2017. The country’s health ministry attributed the breakthrough to its anti-smoking campaign that included reimbursements for people moving to tobacco substitutes and cigarette price increases the past decade, Public Health France said in a report.
The number of smokers dropped drastically, with one million less smokers in 2017 than in the previous year.
A study by Public Health France noted a considerable decline in the number of teenage smokers and low-income citizens.
France’s Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, in particular, welcomed the decline in smoking among the destitute, saying that “tobacco is a trajectory of inequality, it weighs particularly on the most disadvantaged and it gets worse”
In recent years, France has legislated for neutral packaging for cigarettes, offered reimbursements for people moving to tobacco substitutes, and introduced campaigns like a national tobacco-free month, the report said.
However, the biggest, albeit negative incentive is the escalating prices of cigarettes. The government is increasing the price of cigarettes in the country in increments, with the plan to get the price up to €10 ($12) by 2020.
In the US, the FDA has recently announced an anti-smoking plan aimed to further reduce the usage of cigarettes by reduce the allowable levels of nicotine, making cigarettes less addictive as possibly the final step in the fight against smoking.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills over 7 million people each year. Every eighth tobacco victim dies from being exposed to second-hand smoke.