Alcohol and tobacco: the French in favor of strict measures to protect their health

Alcohol and tobacco: the French in favor of strict measures to protect their health

Pollution, food, tobacco, alcohol: more and more French people are worried about the impact of their environment and their lifestyle on their health. Helpless in the face of some of these risks, the population is demanding more transparency on the subject, and is even in favor of strict measures, such as taxes or price increases, to protect their health and that of future generations.

From the contents of their plate to air pollution and their alcohol consumption… The French want to be more informed about the risks involved, if only to be able to make informed choices. And if it has rarely been a question of touching their wallets, they now say they are ready to spend more to protect themselves from diseases inherent to their environment and their lifestyle. This is what emerges from a survey carried out by the Harris Interactive institute for Europe Assos Santé among more than 2,000 adults.

We learn in particular that the French population is concerned about the influence of certain environmental factors on their health, whether in terms of food (88%), hygiene or household products (83%), or even air quality (81%). The French also feel exposed to numerous risk factors which could have harmful consequences for their health, starting with electromagnetic waves (60%), toxic substances present in certain food products (51%), or even outdoor air pollution (50%). This is, however, a little less the case for microplastics (44%), pesticides (44%), toxic substances present in non-food products (41%), or even indoor air pollution (31 %).

A need for transparency

Although they appear mixed about their degree of exposure to these risk factors, the French nonetheless remain worried about the repercussions on their health. This is more the case for toxic substances potentially present in food (51% say they are worried), but also for pesticides (37%), water pollution (34%), toxic substances potentially present in non-food products (34%), outdoor air pollution (33%), endocrine disruptors (30%), or even electromagnetic waves (26%). And this concern is not unrelated to the lack of transparency and information felt by those mainly concerned.

Although they consider that it is now easy to find clear and reliable information on noise pollution, the French do regret the lack of information on outdoor air pollution (55%), the water pollution (58%), indoor air pollution (60%), the presence of toxic substances in food products (66%), and even more on microplastics (73%). Paradoxically, respondents perfectly identify the actors who could provide them with insight into these different risk factors. Four out of ten respondents would turn to the health agency in their region, while a little fewer would opt for their GP (39%), scientists (37%), the Ministry of Health (33%), local authorities (32%), even the World Health Organization (31%).

The importance of reliable labeling

In search of information and transparency, the French say they are overwhelmingly in favor of the implementation of labeling measures, in particular to know the harmfulness or toxicity of their household products (92%), as well as their health products. hygiene and cosmetics (91%), but also to determine at a glance the degree of pollution generated by a product (87%). But the French are no less concerned about the contents of their plate. If price remains the main purchasing criterion today (54%), they also attach great importance to the composition of the product (43%), its origin (37%), and its nutritional qualities (32%).

As such, the Nutri-Score appears to be an indicator of choice in the eyes of consumers. A fifth of respondents say they always choose the highest-rated product when they have two similar ones in their hand, and 19% say they always pay attention to this label when shopping. The presence of the Nutri-Score also constitutes a purchasing criterion if we consider that 17% of the panel systematically favor the product which has the famous label over the one which does not. With this in mind, nearly nine out of ten French people (88%) say they are in favor of the mandatory implementation of this type of nutritional information, and 85% would like to see advertisements for products that are too fatty, too sweet, or too salty. , better regulated.

Alcohol and tobacco: stricter measures

The majority of French people consider that public authorities are doing enough to inform the population about the health risks caused by tobacco, at 53%, but this is less the case for the risks caused by alcohol ( 47%). Respondents also regret a lack of support from public authorities for people suffering from addiction, whether to tobacco (54%) or alcohol (61%). And the observation is the same with regard to prevention. More than half of French people (56%) believe that public authorities are not doing enough to target populations at risk in terms of tobacco prevention. A figure which rises to 61% for prevention actions targeting an audience at risk, in this case young people, in terms of alcohol.

Faced with this observation, the French want stricter measures to be put in place to limit the health risks linked to the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. According to them, this could involve banning influencers from promoting alcohol to minors on social networks (90%), banning alcohol advertisements near schools (89 %), the generalization of applications for evaluating and monitoring alcohol consumption (83%), or even the banning of all advertising for alcohol in public spaces (77%). Importantly, two thirds of respondents also say they are in favor of the continued increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes.

*The survey was carried out online by Harris Interactive for Europe Assos Santé, from December 8 to 13, 2023, with a sample of 2,086 people representative of French people aged 18 and over.