On tobacco, as on other subjects, many untruths circulate and die hard. On the occasion of No Tobacco Month, Alliance Against Tobacco and Santé Respiratoire Europe intend to reestablish some truths.
On the occasion of No Tobacco Month, TipsForWomens has decided to combat the main preconceived ideas about cigarettes, thanks to the insight of the French Respiratory Health Association and the Alliance Against Tobacco.
Who makes more profits between Coca-Cola and the tobacco companies?
“The giants of the tobacco industry!” assures Marion Catellin, director of the Alliance Against Tobacco. According to her, “the giants of the tobacco industry, of which there are four in the world, generate colossal profits each year. These are often higher, or even slightly higher, than those of large companies such as Walt Disney, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Google and McDonald’s all combined. In 2015, this represented an annual net profit of $66 billion.
Is less than 5 cigarettes a day safe for your health?
“It’s wrong. Smoking less than 5 cigarettes per day poses a health risk. estimates Ellen de Guiran, head of studies and evaluation at the Alliance Against Tobacco, who explains why this is a misconception, widely spread in society. According to her, “there is no consumption threshold below which health risks are non-existent. The risk persists even in the event of exposure to passive smoking! For example, for a person smoking one cigarette per day, the risk of myocardial infarction is only half that of someone smoking 20 cigarettes per day. Therefore, to truly reduce the risk, it is not enough to simply reduce consumption but to stop smoking altogether.”
We are not equal when it comes to tobacco addiction
It’s true. “There are various factors and influences that can play a role in the development of this addiction” according to Christiane Pochulu, expert patient suffering from COPD, vice-president of Respiratory Health Europe and Alliance Against Tobacco. American studies have shown that smoking can be perceived as a means of comfort or stress management Tobacco can also be one of the traps that young people can fall into. *
Smoking is a choice
Faux ! “Smoking is anything but freedom” recalls Marion Catellin, director of the Alliance against Tobacco. She explains that it is “essential to take into consideration the fact that smoking is mainly an addiction, and extremely difficult to overcome individually. It is also essential to understand that behind the appearance of a personal choice, smoking is strongly influenced by strategies of marketing that made it a desirable behavior, especially for women in the 1980s, by associating it with freedom”.
Can I smoke if I have a patch on?
It’s common to hear the misconception that nicotine patches are potentially dangerous. For Dr Laurent N’Guyen, pulmonologist and member of Santé respiratory Europe, “If, during nicotine replacement, a person breaks down and smokes, this is not necessarily a serious problem, because they are still receiving nicotine while trying to reduce the amount of tobacco. The ultimate goal is to achieve complete smoking cessation, and the use of nicotine replacement therapy can greatly assist in this process. In certain risk situations, such as pregnant women or people who have recently suffered a myocardial infarction, the use of nicotine patches may be recommended.
Heroin, a substance more addictive than cigarettes?
It’s wrong ! “Tobacco has the highest addictiveness compared to other substances such as heroin, cocaine or alcohol” assures Ellen De Guiran, head of studies and evaluation for the Alliance Against Tobacco. This situation is largely explained by the nicotine contained in tobacco, which reaches the brain extremely quickly: by inhaling a puff of a cigarette, nicotine reaches the brain in less than 10 seconds, which is faster than an injection of heroin, which takes 1 to 2 minutes to reach the brain. This is why relapses during quitting attempts are common, and it may be necessary to make several attempts before successfully quitting smoking for good.
Is the state getting rich from tobacco taxes?
No, the French state does not enrich itself with taxes levied on the sale of tobacco products. According to Marion Catellin, director of the Alliance Against Tobacco, this is a preconceived idea. “A widely held idea is that the sale of tobacco generates more income for the community than it generates health expenses. However, the real cost of care linked to the consequences of smoking far exceeds tax revenues from the sale of tobacco (13 billion euros in 2019). The overall cost includes human lives lost, loss of quality of life, loss of production, as well as direct costs borne by public finances, such as prevention expenditure, healthcare expenditure, etc. For the year 2019, this social cost was estimated at 156 billion euros. This represents around 2,300 euros per inhabitant in Europe, whether smokers, non-smokers, or even children.
For tobacco to cost society nothing, a pack of cigarettes should be sold for between 40 and 50 euros. We are far from it, the current price of a pack of cigarettes currently being around 11 euros.
Is relapsing after smoking cessation a failure?
It’s wrong. For Christiane Pochulu, patient-expert suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vice-president of the French Respiratory Health association of Alliance Against Tobacco, “it is necessary to learn from relapses, because they constitute the path to definitively stopping smoking. A smoker who wishes to quit smoking can tell himself that when he makes the final decision to quit smoking, he will be able to put to good use these lessons learned through his previous failures.“.
Is quitting smoking a question of willpower?
It’s wrong. “There is a 70% greater chance of successfully quitting smoking when accompanied by a health professional.” recall the two institutions. “Without help for smoking cessation, only 4% of quit attempts are successful“. The explanation is as follows: nicotine addiction has several facets, including physical dependence, which can be treated with nicotine substitutes such as patches or gum, and psychological and behavioral dependence. This is the complex combination of these different forms of addiction that makes the process of stopping so difficult, so it is not just a question of willpower.