Agnès Buzyn, the French Health Minister has just given more details about the price increase of the cigarette pack. It will gradually reach 10 euros within the next 3 years. On July 4th, 2017, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had declared to the National Assembly that he wanted to fight against tobacco use. Today, the French cigarette pack price is among the most expensive ones in Europe even though Ireland and the UK have higher prices. The French government wishes to copy measures taken by those two countries. For instance, the UK had 30% of smokers in 2005. The increase of the cigarette pack price to 15 pouds has decreased this rate to less than 20%. Today, the price of a cigarette pack in France is close to 7 euros. 29% of French adults were daily smokers in 2016.
But this rise does not make everybody happy. Smokers fear that their purchasing power will go down, tobacconists fear for their survival. British American Tobacco France has estimated that their foregone revenue will reach 2.7 billion by 2020. In addition, the previous historical price increase that took place in 2004 had very little impact on the reduction of tobacco use.
The increase of tobacco price could be implemented as early as 2018. But Agnès Buzyn wishes for a gradual increase of tobacco prices over a 3-year period in order to limit the impact of the rise on French tobacconists. The governement also wants to implement effective measures to fight against tobacco trafficking.
For the Health Minister, the fight against tobacco use has become a major challenge for the government. Cigarettes are the first mortality cause in France and lead to 78.000 deaths per year.
The price increase will finance prevention campaigns
With the financial impact of this price increase, Agnès Buzyn plans on financing prevention campaigns. The main goal is to reduce tobacco use and help smokers quit. This measure targets most specifically the French youth. The deterrent effect of a 10€ cigarette pack could actually be very significant.