Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Welcome New Year's Resolution

The tide seems to be turning, at long last, on the acceptance of smoking in France. When questioning my college students about their New Year's Resolutions this week, a remarkable number were trying to stop smoking. I have of course heard this other years, but this time I do perceive a true change in mentalities. The undeniable evidence of smoking's dangers, the cost to the ailing French public health system, and the sheer expense of buying cigarettes finally seem to be sinking in.

The French start smoking startlingly young: I read an article recently stating that the average age of a young person's first cigarette in France was eleven! My children found that hard to believe, but my students admitted to me the other day that many of them had started the habit around the age of twelve.

In 2005 I taught the expression " to give something up" to all of my English classes; here's hoping my students will apply it to smoking in 2006!

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