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

Protect women's right to health

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.

“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. 

To read the Joint Report to CEDAW, visit: