As part of the fight against smoking, the introduction of neutral packages at the beginning of 2017 should reduce the attractiveness of tobacco. A new French study seems to demonstrate that the mission is done among young people aged between 12 and 17 years.
As part of its tobacco control policy, France introduces neutral tobacco packages on January 1, 2017. All packages are of the same shape, size, color, same printing, are free of logos. and to deliver new health warnings that highlight the danger of smoking. The goal is to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco, especially among young people aged between 12 and 17, who are more sensitive to marketing.
In order to evaluate the impact of this measure, in 2017 Inserm and the National Cancer Institute launched the DePICT study (Description of tobacco perceptions, images and behaviors). This study investigated 2 different waves of 6,000 representative people for the general population (4,000 adults and 2000 adolescents each time) – one just prior to the introduction of neutral packages and the other one exactly one year later on their perception of smoking .
In adolescents aged 12-17, the study results show that one year after the introduction of neutral packages:
- 1 in 5 young people (20.8%) first tested tobacco compared to 1 in 4 (26.3%) in 2016, even taking into account their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. This decrease is more pronounced in girls: 1 in 10 (13.4%) vs. 1 in 4 (25.2%);
- Young people are more likely to regard smoking as dangerous (83.9% compared to 78.9% in 2016) and to report fears about its consequences (73.3% vs. 69.2%);
- They are also less likely to say that their friends or family accept smoking (16.2% vs. 25.4% and 11.2% vs. 24.6%);
- Young smokers are also less attached to their tobacco brand in 2017 than in 2016 (23.9% vs. 34.3%).
According to the authors of the study, Maria Melchior and Fabienne El-Khoury,These results show that the neutral package could contribute to denormalizing tobacco in young people and reducing their experimentation."They specify that"the overall effect would be due to tobacco control policies, including the introduction of neutral packages, increased prices made and promoted, as well as awareness raising campaignsFuture studies will focus on the impact of this awareness campaign on regular adolescent smoking.
Created on November 21, 2018
Increasing tobacco consumption, health and smoking perceptions: DePICT, a French study nationwide – Fabienne El-Khoury Lesueur, Camille Bolze, Ramchandar Gomajee, Vicki White, Maria Melchior study group DePICT – Tobacco Control published online First: 08 November 2018. (available online)
Photo: © AFP PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON