Tobacco smoking and tobacco cessation in France (yearly review of tobacco indicators)

The French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) provides an overview of the provision, use and health and social consequences of tobacco use in France.

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This tool makes it possible to follow developments of the tobacco phenomenon in France, as complementary to studies or other statistics produced in this field.


Since 2004, the OFDT collects in a "tobacco dashboard" several key indicators (levels of use, volumes sold, sales of nicotine substitutes, calls to the telephone help-line for example), publication of which takes place quarterly or annually. This summary combines the data produced by the OFDT and other public institutions. It was initially intended for public authorities that wished to evaluate the impact of the measures implemented. It is now published and available to everyone: institutional, associations or the wider public.


Levels of use

Monitoring of tobacco use is based on several surveys.

  • Levels of tobacco use are measured regularly amongst the general public, from 1992 onwards for adults by the health Barometer surveys of CFES (Committee for Health Education), becoming thereafter INPES (National Institute for Prevention and Health Education), and finally Santé publique France (Public Health France).
  • Levels of use amongst adolescents have been tracked since 2000 through the ESCAPAD survey (Survey on Health and Drug Use on National Defence and Citizenship Day) of the OFDT for the 17-year-old youth whether scholars or not.

The tobacco market

Figures relating to the market for tobacco products are published every month by the French Customs Authority (Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects, DGDDI) regarding consignment to outlets in Metropolitan France. These data thus measure the registry of outflow of Logista France (primary distributor in France) towards the sales points (and, indirectly, the actual sales to consumers). Data are thus biased, by comparison with field data, only covering some 98% of the volume of tobacco in France and do not take into account of the stocks held by tobacconists.

The data in this survey are captured in terms of volume (quantity of consignments expressed in terms of grams of tobacco). The volumes only take into account sales made in continental France, inasmuch the figures for the overseas departments and territories remain unknown and in the specific case of Corsica (where prices for tobacco products in particular are lower by 25%) has required gathering data separately from the rest of continental France for a long time.

Gross data are transmitted by Department and extracted using several methods (with a notable difference between the 72 Departments of continental France and the 22 frontier Departments of continental France). To compare exactly each month with that of the previous year, the developments in sales are calculated by number of days of constant supply (which can differ according to days of opening thus causing tobacconists’ activities to fluctuate accordingly).

The data on legal and illegal elements of purchases outside the tobacconist network, for their part, are captured by spot investigations by Santé publique France, by the OFDT and supplemented by the quantities of illicit tobacco seized from the various inter-regional Customs Directorates (compiled by week excluding the inter-regional overseas directorates, which show the activities of law-enforcement services.

Nicotine substitutes

Figures relating to the market for nicotine replacement therapy (TNS) were supplied by GERS (Group for the Production and Elaboration of Statistics) and relate to sales to dispensaries – outside hospitals – by wholesaler agents in Metropolitan France. Gross data relates to sales of units of a series of pharmaceutical specialities. They mix the products manufactured in different ways and transform them to collect data of the same kind, so as to be able, in the first place, to differentiate the types of substitute (gums, patches …), and thereafter arrange them by similarities for the "number of months of treatment", based on estimates GERS has identified.

The average length of treatment is estimated here at one month (keeping account of early dropouts), or 28 patches, 216 gums, 160 tablets, 168 filters or 4 sprays. As in the case of the tobacco market, the development of sales in dispensary pharmacies are calculated according to days of constant supply.

The Health Insurance Fund (CNAM), for its part makes available data for reimbursements for treatment for stopping smoking obtained on prescription.

Social telephone network

Santé publique France notifies the OFDT of the figures relating to the number of telephone calls on the specialised line Tabac Info Service (TIS), visits to the website and downloading the app for mobile telephones as well as media campaigns (television, radio, posters, press, interactive media).


The results are itemised in 3 parts in the annual tobacco review.

  • The first part focuses on developments in the tobacco market as far as its legal aspects concerned (tobacconist network, purchases abroad, duty free…) and illegal components (contraband, counterfeiting…) are concerned.
  • The second part is dedicated to the development of user habits.
  • The third part broaches the social and health consequences of tobacco use (recourse to treatment to stop tobacco use, the Month without Tobacco campaign …), as well as the public’s response promoting stopping smoking.

Updates are published annually, the latest reviews are available below.