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HEALTH

How alcohol is still proving deadly for the French

In France, alcohol kills tens of thousands of people each year, with French men particularly affected, a new report shows.

How alcohol is still proving deadly for the French
Photo: Charly Triballeau, AFP
In France, alcohol kills tens of thousands of death each year. According to a new report, in 2017, 41,000 people died from alcohol-related causes – that's 7% of the total number of people over 15 who die in France every year. 
 
Alcohol-related deaths are the second cause of 'avoidable deaths' in France, behind tobacco. French men in particular appear to suffer from high mortality rates due to alcohol.
 
A report released Tuesday by France's national public health body showed an huge disparity between men and women.
 
More than one in ten men (11 percent) in France die every year from alcohol-related causes which is more than twice as much as women (4 percent). 
 
In 2017, 30,000 men died from alcohol-related causes against 11,000 women. 
 
And the problem seems to affect men in France particularly.
 
In comparison, 6.8% of Scottish men suffer from alcohol-related deaths (against 3.3 percent of women), in Switzerland it's 5 percent and in Italy it's even lower at 3 percent.
 
READ ALSO:
 
 
Wine is not special, it's as dangerous as any alcohol, warn French doctors
 
 
The authors of the report were able to break down the causes of alcohol-related deaths: in 2017, 16,000 died from cancer, 9,900 from cardiovascular diseases, 6,800 from digestion related problems and 5,400 from external causes such as accidents or suicides. 
 
Most of these deaths (90 percent) affected people who overdrank, which means they consumed more than 5 units of alcohol – that's the equivalent of more than three and a half glasses of wine or two pints of beer – daily (for information, one unit is measured as 8g of pure alcohol).
 
But the report warned that even moderate drinking can have harmful effects.
 
“Even with a relatively moderate amount of less than 18g of pure alcohol consumed daily, risks increase,” the report said. 
 
There is some good news however.
 
In France, the number of people who die from alcohol consumption is going down. The latest figures available derived from similar studies show that alcohol-related deaths are falling.
 
In France in 2009, 49,000 people died from alcohol-related causes, which is 2 percent more than in 2017.
 
 
READ ALSO:
 
 
Young French people's 'risky' thirst for alcohol revealed in new study

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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