chapter  4
28 Pages

Uneasy prevention: The problematic modernisation of health education in France after 1975

This chapter explores the transformation of health education in France in the wake of the pioneer 'anti-smoking' legislation passed in June-July 1976. Although France's first ever health education campaign, which relied on the alleged informative power of the 'mass-media', focused solely on smoking, Simone Veil, Minister of Health of the right-wing government,2 had a much greater ambition. These 'grandes campagnes nationales d'education pour Ia sante' ('large-scale national health education campaigns') were seen as the perfect policy tool, actually the only one available for reducing the human and economic burden induced by a wide range of 'comportements a risques' ('risky behaviour'), such as smoking, drinking in excess, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, etc.