One thing about the cold weather here is that it really exposes cigarette smokers for the addicts they are. Nothing personal, folks, but if you're sitting outside on a terrace when it's below zero, something's wrong. But there is some good news to report. New research released by an international tobacco enterprise has found that cigarette sales dropped to an all-time low in 2008, dropping 2.3 percent. Some 54.4 billion smokes were sold in France in 2008, compared with almost 85 billion in 1998. This same report, however, points out that the statistics can be a bit misleading since this accounts for only cigarettes sold, not consumed. It seems that cigarettes are a popular tourist purchase; one in four cigarettes smoked in France last year was bought abroad, mainly in Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Roselyne Bachelot, minister of health, isn't resting on her laurels in response to this news. She announced earlier this week that she'd like to put graphic images of organs affected by smoking on cigarette packages by the end of year, in part because the current warnings, (which include "smoking kills") haven't had much impact. Predictably the tobacconists' confederation is crying harrassment. Stay tuned for developments; what could be a nicer addition to my blog than a full color photograph of a diseased lung?
P.S. Happy birthday to my favorite ex-smoker.