Tobacco is Responsible for One in Eight Deaths in France

General News
Tobacco killed 75,000 people in France in 2015, which represents more than one in eight deaths, according to the latest official figures.

According to the latest figures from Public Health France, published on Tuesday 28th May, 2019, tobacco consumption is declining, but the number of deaths is increasing.

Cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases: Tobacco caused 75,000 deaths in France in 2015 , which represents more than one in eight deaths, according to the latest official figures, published Tuesday, May 28, 2019 before World No Tobacco Day.

“As in most industrialised countries, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in France,” says the weekly epidemiological bulletin (BEH) of the health agency Public Health France.

Men particularly affected

The previous balance sheet was from 2016 and related to the year 2013. It was 73,000 deaths, the same proportion compared to the total number of deaths that year (about 13%).

“In 2015, 75,320 deaths were estimated attributable to smoking of the 580,000 deaths recorded in metropolitan France,” according to the BEH.

Men are particularly affected, as 19% of men who died in 2015 died of tobacco (55,400), compared to 7% of women (19,900).

Changing lifestyles

However, in the long run, the trend is unfavorable to women. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of deaths attributable to smoking among men decreased (-11%), while it was multiplied by 2.5 for women (from 8,000 to 19,900).

This evolution is due to a change in lifestyles: overall decrease in smoking among men since 1970, but increase in women.

The causes of smoking-related deaths are cancers (in 61.7% of cases), the most important being lung cancer, cardiovascular disease (22.1%) and respiratory disease (16.2%).

Death due to tobacco.
Death due to tobacco. (© AFP / Vincent LEFAI)

Fewer daily smokers

In addition , Public Health France confirms figures already unveiled at the end of March by the Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn: since 2016, the number of daily smokers has decreased by 1.6 million, of which 600 000 in the first half of 2018.

Obtained through the Health Barometer survey conducted by telephone, these 2018 figures show that the downward trend continues.

The public authorities attribute it to the gradual increase in the price of the package (up to 10 euros by 2020), the reimbursement of nicotine substitutes and the operation Month without tobacco in November.

13 cigarettes a day on average

In 2018, 32% of adults aged 18 to 75 were smokers, at least occasionally. This proportion is stable compared to 2017.

On the other hand, the proportion of daily smokers has “significantly decreased”: it was 25.4% in 2018 (28.2% of men and 22.9% of women), compared to 26.9% in the year of before.

But even if this “encouraging trend” persists, it will not immediately lead to a decrease in the number of deaths, warns Public Health France: several years can separate the consumption of tobacco from the occurrence of diseases, and even among former smokers , the risk remains higher than among those who have never smoked.

On average, daily smokers consume 13 cigarettes or equivalent (14 for men, 12 for women).

” Social inequalities “

Despite this overall decline, daily smoking in France remains “very high compared to other countries of the same economic level, with very strong social inequalities,” notes François Bourdillon, Director General of Public Health France, in the editorial BEH .

Although they stabilise, these inequalities remain “very marked”, according to the BEH: “the least favoured people (unemployed, people with little or no education, low income) are more often smokers than others. ”


Before the World No Tobacco Day Friday, the Ministry of Health, Public Health France and Health Insurance launched on the radio and on the internet a campaign to raise awareness about an unknown disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is due to inflammation and progressive obstruction of the bronchi. Its symptoms: chronic bronchitis (coughing fat for several months each year), repeated bronchitis or progressive sensation of lack of air.

“Particularly disabling, it affects in France between 5 and 10% of adults,” says Public Health France. It “can not be cured but (its) evolution can be slowed down by stopping smoking”.

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