Neutral packages, implemented since January 2017, are effective in the fight against smoking, especially among young people.
Neutral Packs Effectively Protect French Teens From Tobacco, According to New Study Published in Tobacco Control. Introduced in January 2017, this measure has ensured that cigarette packs all have the same shape, size, color and typeface. They are also devoid of logos and carriers of shocking images highlighting the dangerousness of smoking.
Decrease in smoking initiation rate
Among the objectives of this standardization of packaging: the reduction of attractiveness and the denormalization of smoking to ultimately reduce the rate of initiation to tobacco, particularly among young people aged 12 to 17, very sensitive to marketing.
The results of the study show that one year after the introduction of neutral packs, 1 in 5 (20.8%) young people experimented with tobacco for the first time compared to 1 in 4 (26.3%) in 2016 even taking into account their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. This drop is more marked among girls: 1 in 10 (13.4%) compared to 1 in 4 (25.2%). The telephone survey, conducted among 2,000 adolescents before the introduction of neutral packages and 2,000 others exactly one year later, also shows a clear decline in the attractiveness of smoking among young people.
Consider smoking as dangerous
The young people questioned are now more likely to consider smoking as dangerous (83.9% compared to 78.9% in 2016) and to be afraid of its consequences (73.3% against 69.2%). They are also less likely to say that their friends or family accept smoking (16.2% vs. 25.4% and 11.2% vs. 24.6%). Finally, young smokers are less attached to their brand of tobacco in 2017 compared to 2016 (23.9% against 34.3%).
These results "show that the neutral package could contribute to denormalizing tobacco in young people and reduce the experimentation," say the authors of the study, Maria Melchior, researcher Inserm and Fabienne El-Khoury, postdoctoral fellow. "The overall effect would be due to tobacco control policies including the introduction of neutral packages, increased prices made and advertised, and awareness campaigns," they add.
A generation of non-smokers before 2034
"At this rate, smokers, tobacconists and smoky terraces will soon be a distant memory.The current evolution makes very optimistic about the extinction of smoking," says Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg, president of Paris without tobacco, pulmonologist at Pitié-Salpêtrière and tobacco expert. "France will certainly lead to a generation of non-smokers before 2034". According to data from the recently published Health Barometer 2017 of Health France, the prevalence of daily smoking has fallen from 29.4% in 2016 to 26.9% in 2017, a decrease of 2.5 points. This corresponds to a million smokers in less than a year.
In France, smoking still remains the leading cause of preventable death, with around 73,000 deaths each year. It can cause multiple cancers (lung, throat, mouth, lips, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, esophagus). But also cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, stroke, arteritis of the lower limbs, aneurysms, high blood pressure) and erectile dysfunction.
Gastritis, peptic ulcers, type II diabetes
Other diseases are related or aggravated by smoking: gastritis, peptic ulcers, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, eczema, psoriasis, lupus, ENT infections (nose - throat - ears) and dental, cataract and age - related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) may lead to blindness. Not to mention periodontitis, gum disease that causes loosening and loss of teeth.