Thursday March 1st and once again the price of cigarettes is going up across France. For Agnès Buzyn, Minister for Health, this price hike aims to make smokers think twice before buying. The objective stated by the government is to reduce, even eradicate tobacco consumption entirely.
This price hike by one Euro will be implemented this week across the nation. Agnès Buzyn was quoted saying the price increased would hopefully “raise awareness” among smokers. By impacting purchasing power in smoker populations, the government wishes to curb smoking rates.
Now, with cigarette packets as expensive as 8 Euros, smoking represents a significant budget. For the Minister, the sum should encourage smokers to reconsider their habits. The goal is to drive down smoking rates by the end of 2018.
An initiative to promote healthy lifestyle choices
The objective to reduce smoking rates in France seems to be a priority for the government. This is the second price increase in under a year. Other, similar measures are expected in the coming years. The price of a single packet of cigarettes should reach 10 Euros by November 2020.
The Minister for Health believes that the total expenditures on tobacco products should help smokers decide to quit. Tobacco consumption remains a serious public health issue. Indeed in France, tobacco causes over 70,000 preventable deaths per year. The cost for Social Security is estimated at 20 billion Euros every year.
In the last months of 2017, the government adapted the national Health strategy to include “behaviours favourable to health”. Tobacco remains the number one cause of cancer in France. In 2017, 400,000 new cases of cancer struck the nation. It remains to be seen if this price increase will have an impact on smoker behaviour…