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  » Smoking and health effect  »  Smoking Statistics: France
Socio-demographic characteristics
Adult (15+)45,235,00046,623,00050,619,000
% Urban72.772.881.7
% Rural27.327.218.3

Health Status

Life expectancy at birth, 1990-95 : 73.0 (males), 80.8 (females)
Infant mortality rate in 1990-95 : 7 per 1,000 live births

Age-standardized annual death rate per 100,000 (early 1990's)
  Ischaemic heart disease Cerebrovascular disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Lung cancer All cancers All causes
Males 89.6 63.6 28.6 68.6 296.7 9.1
Females 38.3 46.4 10.6 7.7 129.0 483.2

Socio-Economic Situation

GNP per capita (US$), 1991 : 20,460, Real GDP per capita (PPP$), 1991 : 18,430
Average distribution of labour force by sector, 1990 - 92 : Agriculture 6%; Industry 29%; Services 65%

Tobacco production, trade and industry

Agriculture In 1994, 11,700 hectares were devoted to tobacco growing (about 0.1% of total arable land), unchanged from 1992. France receives tobacco growing subsidies from the European Union.

Production and trade France produced an annual average of around 26,900 tonnes of unmanufactured tobacco from 1990-1994. In 1994, France imported 44,000 tonnes of unmanufactured tobacco from outside the European Union (EU) and exported 6,500 tonnes outside the EU. Annual production of manufactured cigarettes declined from 55,500 million in 1990 to 48,700 million in 1994. France is a net importer of tobacco products: 51,000 million cigarettes were imported in 1993 and 9,000 million cigarettes were exported. In 1993, import costs of tobacco products amounted to US$ 1,200 million (0.3% of total import costs), while export earnings from tobacco totalled around US$ 170 million (less than 0.1% of total export earnings).

Industry In 1993, 6,239 people were employed in the tobacco industry. Government revenues from tobacco taxes were US$ 7,400 million in 1990.

Tobacco consumption

Sales of cigarettes increased from 95,000 million cigarettes in 1986 to 97,000 million in 1991, but decreased to 90,000 million in 1994. Decreases were believed to stem partly from the substantial rise in cigarette prices and comprehensive tobacco control policies implemented in the early 1990s. However, sales of tobacco for roll-your-own cigarettes have increased. In 1993, 5,500 tonnes of smoking tobacco were sold, and sales were reportedly up 21% in the first quarter of 1994. In 1993, 1,369 million cigars and cigarillos were also sold. Annual adult per capita consumption of manufactured cigarettes averaged around 2,100 from 1990-92, with modest decreases seen in 1993. Although, roll-your-own cigarettes are gaining popularity, there is no accurate data available to enable inclusion of roll-your-own cigarettes in consumption estimates. In 1993, daily smokers consumed an average of 13.4 cigarettes per day.

Consumption of Manufactured Cigarettes
  Annual average per adult (15+)
1970-72 1,860
1980-82 2,080
1990-92 2,120

Tar/nicotine/filters According to EU legislation, cigarettes must contain less than 15 mg of tar from 1993 and less than 12 mg from 1998. In 1994, about 70% of the cigarettes manufactured in France were filter-tipped, up from 60% in 1990.

Relative cost of cigarettes The average hourly gross salary for an industrial worker in 1992 was US $8.60, enough to buy 4.1 packs of cigarettes. Thus, it would take about 15 minutes of labour to purchase a pack of 20 cigarettes. Between 1987 and 1993, the real price of a pack of cigarettes (accounting for inflation) went up by 31.4%, while prices went up even more substantially in 1994.


Smoking prevalence (regular and occasional) among adults (age 18+) has remained stable at around 40% in the period 1983­1992. In 1993, smoking prevalence declined to 33% (40%M; 27%F), with 36% of males and 23% of females smoking daily.

Tobacco use among population sub­groups Women with higher socio­economic status smoked more than women from lower socio-economic categories, while the reverse was true for men. A 1995 survey revealed that daily smoking prevalence among physicians was 29.9%, with 37.7% of physicians smoking regularly or occasionally.

Age patterns In 1993, smoking prevalence was highest among 25­34 year olds (58%M; 44%F). Among those aged 12­18 years, smoking rates declined from 46% in 1977 to 30% in 1994, but increased to 35% in 1995. A 1993/94 WHO study found that in the regions of Nancy and Toulouse, 25% of 15 year old boys and 23% of 15 year old girls smoked at least once a week. In 1992, the average age of smoking initiation was 14.5 years among both boys and girls.

Mortality from Tobacco Use

It is estimated that tobacco causes about 55,000 deaths a year in France, 95% of which are among males. Annual deaths from smoking reached a maximum of 58,000 men in 1985, and have since declined slightly to an estimated 52,000 in 1995. The rapid rise in male lung cancer rates since 1950 appears to have ceased during the late 1980s, with the age-standardized rate currently around 70/100,000. Tobacco is estimated to cause about one-third of all male deaths in middle age (35-69 years). Between 1950 and 2000, it is estimated that tobacco will have caused about 2.2 million deaths in France, virtually all of them being males. Very few French women currently die from tobacco although there has been a noticeable increase in their lung cancer rate since the early 1980s.

Tobacco control measures

Control on tobacco products Since 1993, France has had a total ban on tobacco advertising (direct, indirect and sponsorship) except at point of sale. A number of persecutions and convictions for early violations of the advertising ban have resulted in violations of the advertising ban becoming very rare. The advertising ban is generally respected. Many of the charges of violations of the advertising ban have been brought by the National Committee Against Tobacco Use (CNCT). However, at the end of 1992, the Parliament adopted an amendment authorizing the television broadcasting and publication of written press reports of sports competitions taking place in countries where tobacco advertising is authorized. There are no laws regulating sales to minors. In 1994, the EU directive banning the sale of oral tobacco products was transposed into French law. The EC directive on labelling has been implemented into French law. In 1994, taxes on cigarettes represented 75% of the retail price. Since 1992, tobacco products are no longer included in the consumer price index.

Protection for non­smokers Smoking in public places is severely restricted in France. Smoking is restricted in all closed or covered places open to the public or in areas which constitute a place of work. It is also restricted in transit vehicles and schools. Specific smoking areas may be provided within these premises as long as priority is given to the protection of non­smokers and set ventilation standards are respected. In restaurants and bars, there is flexibility in the amount of space to be designated for smoking and non-smoking areas, as long as priority is given to nonsmokers. Smoking is banned on all flights of less than two hours operated by national air carriers.

Health Education The French Committee for Health Education (CFES) operates national campaigns and coordinate its activities in collaboration with a number of health organizations working toward tobacco control. Anti-smoking information campaigns are based on intensive use of mass media, with many of the campaigns targeted to young people. Since 1985, the "Association de Lutte contre le Cancer", a student association, has been involved in research support, patient support, and educational programmes devoted mainly to youth. World No-Tobacco Day is celebrated annually in France.