• June 15, 2024

French Tobacconists Oppose Price Hike

 French Tobacconists Oppose Price Hike
Photo: OceanProd

French tobacconists have objected to a proposal to raise cigarette prices to €25 per pack by 2040, reports Euractiv.

Cigarettes in France currently retail for around €12.50 per pack, one of the highest rates in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Europe, only U.K. and Irish smokers shell out more for their cigarettes.

Despite the high price, France remains one of the countries with the highest number of daily smokers, and every year tobacco causes 70,000 premature deaths.

To address this issue, the Senate Social Affairs Committee in a recent report suggested doubling the price over the next 16 years.

Noting that “the policy of reducing smoking has failed,” the committee recommended increasing the price by at least 3.25 percent every year between now and 2040. According to the Senate, the prevalence of smoking decreases when the price increases by more than 4 percent.

The Confédération des buralistes, which represents the interests of tobacconists in France, condemned the proposal, arguing that French already leads the way in terms of tobacco taxation. The group said the report disregards the consequences of price, both on the country’s public health and on the network’s economic situation.

For tobacconists, efforts should focus on the fight against the black market, which account for between 30 percent and 40 percent of cigarettes consumed in France.

However, this figure is disputed by anti-tobacco association ACT, the directorates of public finances and customs, Observatoire français des drogues et des tendances addictives, who put the figure at around 6 percent.

France’s 2023-2027 National Tobacco Control Plan, presented in November by former health minister Aurélien Rousseau, currently plans a price of €13 per pack by 2026.

The EU is likely to review tobacco taxation following the EU elections in June, as the current Commission has not reviewed the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive and the 2011 Tobacco Taxation Directive, as originally planned.