Tobacco: which regions smoke the most?

According to a series of regional studies published on Tuesday, tobacco consumption varies greatly between the different regions: Île-de-France and Pays de la Loire appear to be good students, unlike Hauts-de- France.

The followers of the cigarette are resisting in the north and the south of the Hexagon, but a significant proportion of them try to quit smoking: this is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from the data published on Tuesday by Public Health France. In the first edition of its health bulletins dedicated to tobacco on a regional scale, the agency highlights “strong disparities” in the way in which the different territories have an addictive relationship to tobacco.

Based on studies carried out jointly with Inserm and OFDT, the figures divide the regions into three main categories. The first, that of good students, made up of those whose proportion of daily smokers aged 18 to 75 is lower than the national average, only includes the Pays de la Loire and Île-de-France. The second, more important, is made up of all the regions in the average: there are Brittany, Normandy, Center-val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and New Aquitaine. Finally, the last category is made up of areas where the share of daily adult smokers is above average. Four regions obtain a bad result: Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Occitanie, Grand-Est and Hauts-de-France.

– Watch on Figaro Live

The differences are just as marked when we observe the proportion of daily smokers at 17 years old: Brittany, Normandy, New Aquitaine, Corsica, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté then form the tail of the peloton, while Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and Île-de-France lead the rankings. The proportion of daily smokers varies over a wide range, from 18.9% of young Ile-de-France residents to nearly a third (30.1%) of underage Bretons.

The electronic cigarette still far from replacing classic tobacco

Other indicators specify these differences linked to tobacco consumption: thus, daily smokers in Ile-de-France turn out to be less heavy consumers than their provincial counterparts. In Île-de-France, a daily smoker lights an average of 11.8 cigarettes per day, while his counterparts in Normandy, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Hauts-de-France and Grand-Est crush more than 14 cigarette butts per day.

Another lesson: a large part of smokers are aware of the harmful nature of their addiction and wish to quit. Nationally, more than 56% of smokers express their desire to quit, and more than a quarter (26.3%) tried to quit in 2017. These data vary greatly between regions: if more than 28% of smokers in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Île-de-France have tried to crush their last cigarette, this proportion drops to less than 25% for Bretons and the inhabitants of Hauts-de-France.

Finally, electronic cigarettes have obviously not yet conquered the hearts of smokers. Having landed on the market for a few years, they arouse curiosity: nearly a third of people have experimented with this tool at least once. However, the trial is not transformed, as the proportion of buyers won remains, at the present time, tiny, of the order of 2.7% on average in the territory. Normandy and Brittany are the most familiar with this new way of smoking, while Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes shun this change.

Income and education inequalities in the crosshairs

The regional comparisons carried out by Public Health France provide some avenues for better understanding the differences linked to tobacco consumption. Thus, a study based on income per unit of consumption leads to the conclusion that the proportion of smokers decreases as the standard of living increases, a reality that is found in all regions. In Brittany, for example, 39.2% of the 1st tercile (in other words, the third of the population with the lowest incomes) smoke, against 18.4% of the 3rd tercile. The proportion of smokers also changes according to the level of study of individuals: in Occitania, for example, 33.2% of people without the baccalaureate smoke, against less than a quarter of individuals who have passed the baccalaureate.

These data confirm the, according to which the less fortunate and the graduates suffer from a snowball effect: less informed, they realize less the risks associated with the cigarette and are therefore less likely to quit smoking. “Improving knowledge of risks must be one of the objectives of tobacco control”, therefore considers Public Health France.

These local disparities are part of a context of decline across the country: in recent years, under the effect of vigorous public policies against tobacco, smoking has been on the decline in France. Successive price increases, coupled with other measures such as the neutral package, online communications or the tobacco-free month have thus increased the share of smokers aged 18 to 75 from 29.4% in 2016 to 26.9 % the year after. “There were a million fewer daily smokers in a year”, welcomes the agency, which qualifies this development as “historic decline”.

– Watch on Figaro Live

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