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Tobacco Products Violate the Human Rights of Women and Girls in France

Tobacco Products Violate the Human Rights of Women and Girls in France
53 Organizations call on The UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to make recommendations for France to protect the right to health of women and girls

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 16, 2023 – Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Comité National contre le Tabagisme (CNCT) and Alliance Contre le Tabac (ACT) are joined by 50 additional signatories in calling on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to make recommendations that France take greater steps to protect the right to health of women and girls from the harms of tobacco.

Read the Joint Report

Read the Joint Report to CEDAW here>

“France has made progress with tobacco control efforts, but over 21% of women still smoke daily,” said Laurent Huber, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health. “CEDAW should encourage the French government to fully implement the FCTC and protect the right to health of all it’s citizens, including women and girls.”

“The tobacco industry has been effectively promoting the idea that a woman who smokes is an emancipated woman. As a result, tobacco use now affects 1 in 5 women in France. A devastating consequence is that female smoking is responsible for 20,000 deaths every year in our country,” explains Marion Catellin, Executive Director at ACT- Alliance contre le tabac. “That’s twice as much as 20 years ago. More than ever, public authorities need to take a stand and tackle the issue. At ACT-Alliance contre le tabac, we demand stricter regulation of the marketing and consumption of tobacco products.”

Pr Martinet, Président of the Comité national contre le tabagisme, points out that, The smoking epidemic affecting women in France today is the result of strategies deployed by the tobacco industry against them. It is particularly important for France to respect its international commitments. This means protecting women’s fundamental rights, in particular their right to life and health, but also protecting public policies from tobacco interference.”

Signatory organizations include academic institutions, legal centers, and public health advocacy organizations who are united in their agreement that the tobacco epidemic impacts women and girls in France and prevents the full enjoyment of their basic human rights, such as their right to health.

The joint submission includes key recommendations for the UN Committee to consider to:

1. Monitor and improve measures to protect the right to health.

2. Complete the current protective mechanism to deal with the targeting of women by tobacco companies.

3. Pursue a general tobacco control strategy – including a component focused on smoking among women.

Tobacco products are the leading cause of preventable death, in France and worldwide. Countries must act quickly to strengthen their tobacco control policies to protect their citizens’ right to health.


Media Contacts:
ACT: Astrid Billard, astrid.billard@alliancecontreletabac.org, (+33) 07 49 94 04 08
ASH: Megan Manning, manningm@ash.org, 202-390-9513
CNCT: Emmanuelle Béguinot, emmanuelle_beguinot@orange.fr


Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is America’s oldest anti-tobacco organization, dedicated to a world with ZERO tobacco deaths. Because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH supports bold solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the problem. ash.org


ACT-Alliance contre le tabac is a group of associations recognised under the French law of 1901 as being in the public interest, and committed to public health. Since the Loi Evin [Evin Law] came into force in 1991, ACT has been working for nearly thirty years to defend the well-being of all against the interests of the tobacco industry. As the voice of its member associations, ACT makes it its duty to shed factual light on the manipulations of this industry, and to influence public debate for a more sustainable future.

Its determination in the fight against tobacco has enabled decisive steps to be taken in public health in France. Through information and advocacy campaigns, ACT continues its fight against manufacturers who are redoubling their efforts to normalise the consumption of its addictive products in various forms. Through its unifying action, ACT is collectively mobilising decision-makers, actors in public health, the  environment, human rights and finance, as well as the media, to see the emergence in 2032 of the first generation in France free from the harmful effects of tobacco and its industry.


The National Committee for Tobacco Control (Comité national contre le tabagisme – CNCT) is the oldest association for the prevention of tobacco in France. It was founded in 1868 and throughout its history, the CNCT has played a spearheading role in promoting and accompanying the major advances in the fight against the scourge of smoking in France. Our vision is a world free from the harm and human tragedy caused by tobacco and its industry.

The missions of the CNCT are mainly articulated around two axes:

– Conducting pilot projects and studies and developing prevention activities by informing the general public, journalists, policymakers and other stakeholders, about all the damages due to tobacco;

– Advancing and enforcing tobacco control laws and regulations based on scientific evidence and best practices by advocacy and by the construction of a strong jurisprudence.

These missions are carried out in collaboration with many national and international tobacco control actors and in close relationship with the French Ministry of Health.