Why are cigarette sales falling in France every year? Is this a consequence of the intensified fight against tobacco in recent years? Where has the electronic cigarette dethroned cigarettes in France?
Are we approaching the end of smoking in France?
In 2019, 24% of the French smoked every day. This is a number that is decreasing every year, especially among women who smoked 20.7% daily in 2019, up from 22.9% in 2018.
The decline in cigarette sales in France
According to government figures, 1.6 million French people quit smoking between 2017 and 2019.
The fight against smoking
Smoking is a major government health problem. With more than 200 deaths every day, it is the leading cause of preventable death. To effectively counter this dependency, the government is working on several levels: by raising public awareness, increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes and reimbursing nicotine substitutes.
If we go back in time, the decline in cigarette sales was continuous until 1997 and stagnated until 2001. In 2000, particularly from 2003 to 2004, the price increases resulted in a sharp decrease in cigarette sales (-14% in 2003) and -21 % in the year 2004). Starting in 2010, prices have increased by several cents each year, resulting in a slow but steady decline that will be more pronounced between 2012 and 2014 at -12.5% of sales in 2 years. Since then, price hikes, public awareness and other government measures have continued to weigh on tobacco sales.
Less regular smokers
The proportion of smokers continues to decline every year, but the number of deaths from tobacco is increasing. 73,000 deaths were recorded in 2013, compared to 75,320 in 2015. As a result, there are fewer and fewer smokers, but that’s not all, even regular smokers are increasingly reducing the number of cigarettes consumed each day. In fact, normal smokers ages 18 to 75 smoked an average of 12.5 cigarettes a day in 2018, compared to 13.4 in 2014.
The rise of electronic cigarettes in France
Between the rise in the price of tobacco, the desire to quit smoking, the attraction of novelty, many smokers have been turning to electronic cigarettes for several years.
A significant increase in electronic cigarettes
The attraction of novelty, the technological aspect, the variations in flavors, the number of models … all strategies surprise and seduce consumers who are increasingly adopting e-cigarettes.
The arrival of the e-cigarette
New for 2010 was the electronic cigarette for the first time as an aid to smoking cessation. Between 2011 and 2014, the e-cigarette therefore conquered many smokers who were looking for a nicotine substitute, but not only. The vapoteuse has also captured an audience of non-smokers, arousing suspicion and allowing certain regulations to be introduced. However, enthusiasm for this new object continued to grow until France ranked third in the global electronic cigarette market in 2019.
The use of electronic cigarettes
After the USA and Great Britain, France ranked third in the world market for e-cigarettes in 2019 with a turnover of more than 820 million euros. With the rise in tobacco prices and the desire of the French to quit smoking, the market grew 21% between 2017 and 2018.
In 2020, when France had 2 million vapers, the private research institute Xerfi published a study on “The Prospects for the Electronic Cigarette Market by 2023”. According to this study, thanks to all of the above and the current high visibility of the electronic cigarette, the e-cigarette market will continue to grow. According to the private research institute, sales of electronic cigarettes in France could reach 1.3 billion euros by 2023, representing an annual growth of 5 to 10%.