Following Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s announcement concerning tobacco price increase, the French journal Libération met with Parisian smokers. We have actually mentioned it quite recently. During his general policy speech to the National Assembly representatives, the Prime Minister declared that his government was committed to progressively rising the price of cigarette packs to 10 euros.
What are those smokers telling us?
They are bitter, they are angry. But some of them consider that this is an opportunity to stop smoking, which is the main goal of this measure.
Smokers quoted by Libération actually have two different types of reaction concerning the price increase.
Those who are the most dependent to tobacco products do not plan on quitting despite this 40% price increase and plan on buying their cigarette packs abroad.
Those who consider this increase as a strong incentive to stop smoking plan on switching to electronic cigarettes. They are considered as less expensive and less harmful than tobacco products.
The OMS considers that tobacco price increase is the most efficient way to reduce tobacco use. But this increase might lead French smokers to buy their products in close European countries where tobacco is less expensive. In Spain for instance, the price of a cigarette pack is 4.60€, in Luxemburg, it will be around 4.20€ while in Italy it is close to 5€. Namely 50% savings compared with the future French cigarette pack price of 10€.
This measure might also trigger an increase of traficking and smuggling. Illegal street sellers are rejoicing of the potential business increase and are bringing in cigarette cases from the Maghreb at a lower cost. The Prime Minister is well aware of this possibility. He has stated in his speech that he was going to fight against such traficking.