Agnès Buzyn’s statement in the French journal le Parisien was a first indicator of the rise: she explained on June 15 that she wasn’t against a price increase of the cigarette pack to 10 euros.
“Tobacco causes more than 80 000 deaths in France. It is the first cause of avoidable mortality. The daily use of tobacco is on the rise among the youth. Doing nothing is totally out of the question“, explained Prime Minister Edouard Philippe during his general policy speech to the members of the National Assembly on July 4th 2017. He also promised to launch a merciless battle against trafficking. The Prime Minister then confirmed the rumor.
The government will “gradually increase the price of the cigarette pack to 10 euros”. Compared with 7 euros today, this represents namely a 40% increase. This rise is not really a surprise since it was a promise of president Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign. At 7 euros the cigarette pack, France is today the third most expensive European country for cigarettes. France is behind Ireland and the UK but far superior to the average European price.
For WHO, a price increase leads to a decrease in tobacco use
For the lung specialist and tobaccologist Bertrand Dautzenberg, who was interviewed by France Info, the government tackling the problem is very good news in the fight against smoking. “The WHO – World Health Organization- recommends the increase of tobacco price. It is the most effective means to reduce tobacco use“, Professor Dautzenberg explained. According to the WHO, a 10% increase in prices could lead to a 4% decrease of tobacco use.
It was high time the new government acted. France remains one of the major tobacco consumers in Europe. And the situation seems to worsen with an increase of the number of women smoking in France. According to a survey from Santé Publique France, which was published for the World No Tobacco Day on May 31st, more than a third of the French adult population (34.5%) smoked last year, out of which 29% smoked on a daily basis.