MAP: The places in France where people smoke the most

France’s national health body has shared a map of smoking patterns across the country revealing some unexpected regional findings.

MAP: The places in France where people smoke the most
Photo: AFP

The French may have a reputation as Gauloises-smoking hedonists but a new map by the country’s public health system reveals that people in certain regions are more partial to puffing on a cigarette than others. 

Using a 2017 health barometer of data for people aged 18 to 75, the public body has mapped out where the highest and lowest rates of regular smokers are in each corner of France.

Parisians for example, who might be considered to be heavy smokers given the stress of living in the capital, are in fact the least likely to take up the habit. 

Roughly 21 percent of people in the greater Paris region of Ile-de France are smokers, the lowest rate in the country, followed by Pays de La Loire with 23 percent in second place and Normandy in third with 25.6 percent.

By contrast in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the south east, smokers make up nearly a third of the population (32 percent).

That makes people from Marseille and their coastal counterparts the heaviest smokers in France.

And whilst Normandy overall had a below average rate of smokers, more 17 year olds get hooked on the unhealthy habit than anywhere else in the country: 7.5 percent.

Overall anti-tobacco campaigns and price hikes appear to be convincing the French to kick the habit, with a drop in one million smokers from 2016 to 2017, taking it down to 12.2 million overall. 

Other determining factors that according to Santé Publique France are having an influence on regional disparities in smoking habits are income and education levels.

The higher the level of wealth and education, the lower the chances of having nicotine dependency and the higher the probabilities of responding to health awareness campaigns.

French vocab 

Le tabagisme: nicotine dependency  

Accro (à [qch]) [slang]: hooked (on something)

Dévoiler: reveal

Le revenu: income 

S'allumer une clope: light a ciggy/fag 

Nuisible à la santé: Bad for one’s health

Un gros fumeur: heavy smoker


Member comments

  1. Time for France to institute smoke-free outside areas at eateries.

    And work on auto emissions too, especially diesel engines.

    I know they’re trying.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Marseille becomes latest French city to declares its beaches a no-smoking zone

The French city of Marseille has made its beaches no-smoking zones after a successful trial last summer.

Marseille becomes latest French city to declares its beaches a no-smoking zone
From Saturday, smoking will be banned on Marseille's four main beaches. Photo: AFP

From Saturday, August 15th, smoking will be banned on the city's Borély, Bonneveine, Pointe-Rouge and Prophète beaches until October 31st.

The city ran a trial smoking ban on beaches last summer, but now local authorities are bringing back the ban for the summer season.


It joins La Rochelle, where smoking on the beach was banned last year, while several French cities including Paris and Strasbourg have introduced smoking bans in some parks.

Marseille's Premier Adjoint Benoît Payan said that as well as the health problems of passive smoking, especially for children, cigarettes were a pollution hazard.

He tweeted: “Just one cigarette can pollute 500l of water.”

READ ALSO Will park and beach bans lead to France stubbing out its smoking habit?