Fighting the Tobacco Epidemic

On November 1, France launched “Moi(s) sans tabac” (“month/me without tobacco”), the very first national campaign of its kind, which will use all existing social media and digital tools to encourage smokers to quit. Inspired by the UK’s “Stoptober” campaign, which started in 2012, it sets the goal of stopping for the entire month of November, 30 days without smoking, which multiply the chances of quitting by five.

9786177825_73ed90e5fb_zUsers can sign up online to join the community and get personalized advice; call a phone number where they can talk to smoking cessation specialists; or download an application that can track their progress, cheer them on, and calculate their savings. On November 1, over 130,000 smokers had signed up.

It is estimated that tobacco is as addictive as heroin, with approximately 60% of those who try it becoming addicted. Of regular smokers, experts calculate that about half will die of smoke-related consequences. In France, there are around 73,000 smoke-related deaths each year. In 2003, a government report found that France’s male population had the highest level of cancer-related deaths, more than any country in the European Union, caused directly by cigarette use.

How did this tobacco epidemic begin? What are some environmental factors that play into tobacco addiction? What are some intervention that have been effective in helping smokers quit?

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