Do we smoke too much in French films?

published on Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

This is the opinion of the Ligue contre le Cancer, which relies on its latest study to denounce the presence of smoking in French cinematographic works.

The results of this survey released on May 25, with the Ipsos institute, indicate that tobacco is still present in more than 90% of French films. “A majority of young people aged 18 to 24 consider that these are incentives to smoke (58%)”.

In the wake of this study, Public Health France also revealed that the trend to quit smoking came to a halt in 2020.

However, the health agency does not establish a direct link with the Covid-19 crisis, evoking a context of social crisis affecting people with the lowest incomes since the end of 2018 and the movement of “yellow vests”.

Last year, more than three adults aged 18-75 in ten declared that they smoke at least occasionally (31.8%) and a quarter daily (25.5%), indicates the health agency before World No Tobacco Day , Monday May 31. This marks a halt after several years of seeing the proportion of smokers drop from 34.5% to 30.4% between 2016 and 2019, and daily smokers drop from 29.4% to 24%.

Public Health France (SpF) qualifies the figures for 2020 as stabilizing, because “the variations in the prevalence of smoking and daily smoking compared to 2019 are generally not significant”. On the other hand, the public body notes “an increase” in smoking “among the third of the population with the lowest incomes”, to 33.3% of daily smokers against 29.8% in 2019. By contrast, in the highest income third of the population, only 18% say they are daily smokers.

Another element is cause for concern: “in 2020, 29.9% of daily smokers had attempted to quit for at least a week in the past 12 months”, a proportion “down significantly by compared to 2019 (33.4%) “.

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These data come from the barometer carried out each year by SpF, a major survey on health issues conducted by telephone among 14,873 people between January and March 2020 and then between June and July of the same year.

The “context of social crisis” post-yellow vests more than the pandemic?

The health crisis linked to Covid-19 and its economic and social restrictions “do not seem to have had an unfavorable impact”, since it is at the beginning of 2020, between January and March, that the “increase” is observed, followed by “stabilization” after the first containment.

Among those surveyed from January to mid-March 2020, 32.7% said they smoked, but this proportion fell to 30.5% among those surveyed in June and July 2020, returning to the level of 2019 (30.4% ).

The campaign against tobacco made it easier

This stabilization may have a link with the health crisis, believes Loïc Josseran, president of the Alliance against tobacco and professor of public health at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin, because “with each hard phenomenon for the population, we observes an upsurge in addictive behavior “. With the “successive drops” in recent years, “we had done the easy part”, now “it will be complicated to continue” to decrease because it will be necessary to reach “the most fragile”, less sensitive to prevention messages, a he explained.

Public Health France does not decide on the reasons for this development, but observes that it “takes place in a context of social crisis in France which started at the end of 2018, with the ‘movement of yellow vests'”, which “has strongly concerned populations of lower socio-economic level “. “However, among the less privileged populations, cigarettes could be used to manage stress or to overcome daily difficulties, despite the increasingly important cost of this product,” says the agency, citing a French study from 2009 who analyzed why modestly smokers are paradoxically less sensitive to policies to increase tobacco prices.

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