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Price hikes ‘forcing French smokers to quit’

Published on 02/02/2004

PARIS, Feb 1 (AFP) - The number of smokers in France has dropped by nearly two million over the past five years because of rising awareness of the health risks and steep price rises imposed by the government, a study showed Sunday.

Between 1999 and 2003, the proportion of smokers has gone from 34.5 percent of France’s 60-million strong population to 30.4 percent, a decline of 1.8 million smokers to 13.5 million, the survey by the Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES) and the IPSOS statistics institute found.

It interviewed 3,000 people aged 15 to 75 across the country.

Last year saw a large proportion of French people – 14 percent – giving up cigarettes as the government ratcheted up the price of packets to around EUR 5 (USD 6).

Overall, the ex-smokers said prices had become their second most-important reason for kicking the habit, after that of wanting to take better care of their health.

In addition, the survey found that a third of the smokers polled planned to give up in the coming months.

The INPES noted that women and young people were the ones most likely to stop smoking, saying that tobacco consumption for those two categories had dropped 18 percent.


                                                              Subject: France news