The LREM (La République en Marche Party) Representative from the Bouches-du-Rhône (South of France) François-Michel Lambert has detailed a set of 5 measures to fight against tobacco. He plans on defending those ideas as part of the next Budget Bill Project and Financing of Social Security.
1. Forcing cigarette manufacturers to fight against the black market
As you may know, the cigarette pack will soon reach 10 euros in France. It will increase gradually (1 euro per year), which will lure more smokers into the black market. But according to the Representative, the cigarette manufacturers are fostering this black market. They especially use “Illicit White” cigarettes that they manufacture but don’t sell officially. This represents a yearly 3 billion-dollar loss for the French government. Rep. Lambert wishes for an independant traceability of tobacco products, that he wants to expand to heat sticks and vaping products.
2. Financially condemn cigarette manufacturers if they manipulate data and reports
Rep. Lambert explains that tobacco manufacturers “do not hesitate to circulate studies, data, figures that are most of the time fake but when relayed by the media, create a buzz and can influence our public authorities”. He wants them to be liable for such actions.
3. Fight against cigarette butts pollution
Six thousand billions (6 000 000 000 000) cigarettes are smoked each year in the world, out of which 65 billions in France only (you can calculate the ratio per inhabitant!). This represents billions of cigarette butts that are polluting our environment and François-Michel Lambert wants cigarette manufacturers to work on this problem. Indeed, it will take up to 12 years for a cigarette butt to fully decompose. During this period, it will release around 4000 substances, among which many are toxic. He suggests the “creation of an environmental contribution that should be paid only by tobacco companies. The amount would need to be defined by the Parliament but could be around 2 to 5 cents per cigarette pack”.
4. Shift responsibility in tobacco use prevention
Rep. Lambert would also like the French government to stop paying for tobacco use prevention. “Tax payers and users of social services, especially non-smokers, should not have to pay for the consequences of such an addictive product. I therefore suggest that only cigarette manufacturers pay for tobacco use prevention”. He would like this fund to have around 50 to 100 million euros per year.
5. Increase tobacconists wages
There are 25 000 tobacco stores in France. For the Representative, 11% of the price of a cigarette pack should be drained from tobacco maufacturers’ margins and redistributed to tobacconists.