Pierre Rouzaud, Tobacco specialist and President of the Tabac et Liberté association, gave to the newspaper " Ladepeche.fr »An interview about the harms of smoking. According to him the World Health Organization and France are doing nothing to improve the situation.
The World Health Organization warns about the harmful effects of smoking. How do you react to these announcements ?
WHO holds the same speech, but does nothing! And in France, we do nothing either! If we really wanted to reduce smoking, especially among young people, we would get there! In Iceland, the smoking of adolescents aged 15-16, which was 23% in 1998, fell to 3% in 2016! With us, 50% of young people smoke.
What are the causes of this inaction ?
A few years ago, a report on the purely economic aspects of tobacco concluded that "the presence of smokers in a society contributes to the well-being ... of non-smokers"! Quite simply, because if there were no smokers, the pension funds would be bankrupt: one in two smokers dies around the age of 60! And then, if there were no more smokers, as a third of cancers are due to tobacco, a third of cancer centers would be closed. And pharmaceutical companies would no longer sell antimitotics, those drugs that prevent the reproduction of cancer cells, but which cost a fortune ... There are economic interests behind smoking and our politicians apparently have other concerns than the issues of health.
How does this translate ?
In France, the figures are stagnant / 33% of the population smokes, and the same observation has been made for 10 years. What is extraordinary is that, in the meantime, the electronic cigarette has arrived and it has allowed a million smokers to quit smoking! And yet, consumption has not decreased. So what's going on? Well, the tobacco industry has found a clientele among young people! There are seven smokers who die every day, and therefore the tobacco industry has to recruit 15 new smokers per day, to hook seven, which gives it a constant customer base. It's incredible: the tobacco industry manages to retain its customers by killing them!
So what do you think must be done ?
Prevention, again and again prevention. I explained to you how in Iceland, the public authorities got there, by supervising the pupils, by making them play sports, by explaining to them the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. During this time, associations like ours have seen their subsidies cut, which means that we can no longer go to colleges and high schools to do prevention! Because the best remedy against tobacco is never to start: once you are "addicted", it's too late! Our leaders are guilty: seven deaths from tobacco per hour, it's as if an Airbus of 200 people crashed every day in France! And yet, everyone seems indifferent! I also think it's a question of vocabulary: no, Alain Baschung did not die of cancer, he died of smoking. No Sharon Stone did not have a stroke, she was a victim of smoking: a disease that you contract in adolescence and which ends up killing you!