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FRANCE INFO: “Le Vrai du faux” program on tobacco.

FRANCE INFO: “Le Vrai du faux” program on tobacco.

According to the Minister of Health, tobacco costs "50 billion euros per year to Social Security and more than 100 billion euros to the national community". True, but you have to contextualize.

Marisol Touraine is therefore formal. At the microphone of BFMTV, the Minister of Health affirmed last November 13 that tobacco "costs 50 millirads of euros to Social Security and more than 100 billion to the national community". However, a year earlier, the minister did not have the same figures: “ 18 billion euros for Social Security and 45 billion euros for the entire social cost of tobacco" page (in French).


How did we go from 45 to 100 billion euros?

A development first: the social cost of tobacco has not doubled in France in the space of a year. This is in fact a typical example that one should be wary of the figures cited without being contextualized. The figure put forward by Marisol Touraine in 2014 comes from a study by the French Observatory for Drugs and Drug Addiction published in 2006 on the basis of figures dating back to the early 2000s.

However, the OFDT has just published a new study last September on the issue. The Minister of Health therefore simply updated her files.

Nevertheless, the social cost of tobacco has tripled between 2006 and this year. But " the explanation for this soaring social cost of drugs is not the result of an increase in consumption and an inefficient public policy“, Explain the authors of the 2015 publication.

Calculation differences between 2006 and 2015

The researchers explain it for methodological reasons. In 2006, it was estimated that 42.000 people would die prematurely from tobacco, compared to 79.000 today. A difference essentially linked to "better consideration of the causes of death and in particular of deaths for cardiovascular diseases and cancers caused by tobacco".

The two studies (2006 and 2015) also vary in their method of calculating the value of human life. The most recent takes into account, for example, “the loss of quality of life”, unlike that of 2006.

In short, the spectacular increase in the social cost of tobacco is explained by " improving our epidemiological knowledge and by modifying the calculation parameters and not a negative change in the drug landscape in France" page (in French).

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About the Author

Editor and correspondent Switzerland. Vapoteuse for many years, I take care mainly of Swiss news.