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French Smoking

January 6, 2011

French men are giving up cigarettes, but French women are smoking more.


A French gender divide…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A beret, a cafe, and the ubiquitous cigarette…the quintessential stereotype of the Parisian man. But in just 25 years, smoking rates among Frenchmen have plummeted from 40% to just 24%, according to cardiologist Daniel Thomas of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. To the alarm of public health officials, however, the trend is headed in the opposite direction in women.

DANIEL THOMAS (Institute of Cardiology, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris):
For the women there is an increasing of smoking from 18, 19% to 20% and, it’s very significant for this period.

And he says the trend is steadily increasing. He explains that thirty years ago, smoking in women was considered much less socially acceptable than it is today. But, adolescent boys and girls are now starting to smoke at similar rates, which probably accounts for the convergence in smoking rates between the sexes today. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.