Why Poor Smokers Are Less Concerned About Cigarette Price Increases

In France, as in many other developed countries, there's an increasing social differentiation of cigarette smoking. Despite a 66% increase in cigarette prices during the early 2000s, the smoking prevalence barely decreased among manual workers and even increased among unemployed people. Acknowledging the attractive and pleasurable aspects of smoking experienced by poor smokers helps to understand why anti-tobacco policies in general, and the increase in cigarette price in particular, are unlikely to deter many poor smokers from smoking. In fact, in-depth interviews with the poorest smokers revealed that they believe smoking is all they have left. In fact, many said it’s the only leisure activity they can afford. That led the French government to consider that raising cigarette prices would likely impose a disproportionate burden on poor smokers who choose not to quit. Instead, they began to focus in interventions that would improve poor smokers’ living conditions, as well as promote strategies that would help them cope with socioeconomic stress.