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HEALTH

Mois sans tabac: French government calls on smokers to quit

Every November, smokers in France can get help from the government to help quit what is becoming an increasingly expensive habit.

Mois sans tabac: French government calls on smokers to quit
Coffee and a cigarette has become a less common breakfast alternative in France, following years of campaigning to decrease the number of smokers in the country. Photo: AFP

Set up in 2016, the Mois sans tabac (tobacco-free month) is a government-led campaign to initiate smokers to quit.

Why one month?

The idea is to help smokers see that they are able to get off cigarettes completely for a longer period of time. Quitting for one month increases the chance of quitting for good by 5 times, according to the campaign.

How does it work?

All through November, smokers may sign up for free, either through the government's Tabac Info Service website or in their closest pharmacy.

Those participating will get a free ‘quitting kit’, including a coaching app with tips and games, free calls with tobaccologists on 3989 (link here) and direct them towards local support groups for help.

Participants can also download the Tabac info service mobile app for an e-coaching programme with advice and support, or join regional Facebook Tabac info service groups.

Broader strategy.

The initiative is part of a broader strategy to diminish the number of smokers in France. The French government has been increasing tobacco prices for years in an attempt to encourage the country's inhabitants to stub their cigarette for good.

Another price hike on November 1st, by €0.50 on average, pushed the price of a 20-pack of most cigarette brands over the symbolic €10 mark. 

READ ALSO: What changes about life in France in November 2020?

 

Member comments

  1. Please stop smoking. I want to eat on the terrace sometimes–or even near a window.

    In the US, smoking is for uneducated people, those with less than a four-year degree. French are supposed to be smart, cultivated.

    All the educated people I know who smoked when young soon quit.

  2. Scott, are you American?
    To make the comment “In the US, smoking is for uneducated people, those with less than a four-year degree.” you are asking for trouble!

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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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