What I Noticed In France...
Arriving in Nice (South of France), I was struck by its mountainous hills & its beautiful palmed scenery. However, there was one thing I noticed....
Other than the fact that when it rains it POURS, I was impressed that all the locals had an umbrella in preparation! (unlike the U.K.) Everywhere I walked I could smell cigarettes or see at least 10 people lighting up. Of course being in the dental industry these small significance's are brought to my attention more so than those not. According to a study at least 13 million French citizens smoke. 29% being students. Compared with citizens in the UK 15.1% smoke which equates to 7.4 million people. This is still a huge amount of people inhaling chemicals but what really surprised me was the levels of tolerance in France compared with the UK...
As I was walking down the oldy worldy cobbled streets in the Cote De Azur on a Friday night- many restaurants were buzzing with music, food and people all looking to indulge in their desires! Many of these modern-chic restaurants and bars were covered with a conservatory for smokers who want to enjoy a cigarette whilst eating and drinking. In 2007 England forced a ban upon smoking in all public spaces from restaurants, pubs & even bus stops! so seeing the casual acceptance of smoking in these places totally unfamiliar to me.
Inside the beautiful luxurious restaurants and bar, the atmosphere was electric with elegance and class. The constant theme which went hand in hand with this lifestyle was smoking. Seeing the consistency of smoking within these settings I wanted to know more.
According to the French Health Ministry:
" Daily smoking in France dropped from 29.4 percent of the population in 2016 to 26.9 percent in 2017, marking a difference of 2.5 percentage points... The drop was also significant for disadvantaged smokers, including low-income and unemployed French. The decline was most notable in men between the ages of 18 and 24, and women aged 55 to 64. The groups witnessed a decline of 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively."
France has put together a strategy to reduce smoking in France to "combat tobacco use" in 2016, that a start at least! and its pleasing to see the rate it dropping. In the UK less than 17% of people smoke (according to the BBC) Shortly after the ban came in, the rate of smoking had started to decline. Perhaps this was because of the limited spaces to freely smoke?
I wondered if the same immediate message that was conveyed to those in the UK was brought to those in France? or is it more lenient in France? Why was smoking seen to be romanticised in France? Or is it just the citizens choice to carry on how it is?
Looking into the statistics of oral cancers; according to
"The Causes of Cancer In France"
"tobacco smoking was responsible for 23.9% of cancer deaths (33.4% in men and 9.6% in women)"
According to :
Cancer Research UK "33%" of deaths are from smoking.
Even though UK put a ban on smoking in public places and the significant decline in smoking there after, we can see that the openness of smoking in France still results in a less percentage when it comes to smoking related cancers.
Smoking causes major harm to our beautiful bodies and minds, in any setting if you can avoid smoking please do so! if you are a smoker yourself, try and quit ! you have every power in you to combat smoking, with the right guidance, support and education you can stop smoking now.