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Economy

France fails to cut down on smoking, official report shows

media Malgré l'augmentation du prix du tabac, les Français ne semblent pas prêts à renoncer à leur cigarette. Flickr/cc

France has failed miserably in its attempts to reduce smoking, the government’s auditor reports. Tobacco is most common cause of avoidable death and a third of French adults smoke.

About 73,000 tobacco-related deaths are reported every year.

This Cour des Comptes, the body that audits government spending, on Thursday published a review of anti-smoking policy since 1991 when bars, cafés and restaurants had to provide smoke-free areas.

Interactive map of France

The number of smokers fell from 35 per cent to 31 per cent between 1991 and 1995 but then started rising again, it found, concluding that only sustained price hikes would cut the number of smokers.

Its report reviewed the impact of anti-smoking measures. One in three people now smoke in France, compared to one in five in the UK, down from 30 per cent 10 years ago.

France needs to follow the example of Britain where tobacco taxes are higher, the president of the National Committee Against Tobacco, Yves Martinet, told RFI.

The Cours de Comptes also praised the UK’s efforts in education, concrete help and strict application of the law.

The report also points out that the government spends three times more on subsidising tobacconists for lost revenue than on prevention.

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