The French government spends three times more on subsidising tobacconists for lost revenue than on prevention.

You didn’t know that did you?

And it seems the anti smoking laws there have had a reverse effect to the one intended.

Some French bean counters did an audit recently where they reviewed the non-smoking policies and their effectiveness since 1991, as it was then that café’s and bars had to provide non-smoking areas.

zone fumeur

After the introduction of this policy, there was a dip in the smoking numbers, down from 35% to 31%, but after 1995 the numbers began to climb again, (remember the outright smoking ban in public places came into effect 2007) and now it is estimated that one in three Frenchmen and women are smokers. This compares to us Brits where the number is one in five.

What conclusion did the French bean counters arrive at? That the French need to follow the UK’s example and actually enforce the ban – that might be a good start.  The UK in the first year of the ban did over 2500 inspections, in France a country at least double the size of the UK they did a whopping 600 – so you get the idea. The French also want to up the cigarette tax, (I think that has more to do with the economic crisis than anything else – but this is a personal opinion backed up with nothing other than a hunch.)

And who are these people that are taking up smoking and reversing the much-wanted trend in France?  Apparently it is women.

There has though been a change of attitude amongst the public regarding second hand smoke, most now appreciate that it is not normal to be subjected to it if you are a non smoker, and this was the only positive point the bean counters could find.

So, after the enforcement of the non-smoking ban and the introduction of higher cigarette taxes, – what’s next?  You guessed it-   plain packaging!!

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