On Tuesday, the French Social Security administration presented their new financing programme. They plan to increase cigarette prices, twice in the next year. This solution seems to be reducing the smoking rate, a positive development for most, except tobacconists.
According to the 2019 Social Security financing programme, cigarette packets will be raised by 50 cents in April, and another 50 cents in November. The raising of tobacco prices is an effective solution as sales have fallen by 9,6 % in 12 months. While this news is good according to medical professionals, cigarette shop owners are not happy.
On radio station Europe 1, Patricia explained that her bar and cigarette shop sales have fallen 10% in the past year. She learned to adapt to these new market trends, selling other products including e-cigarettes. But this will not be enough to keep her business afloat.
Patricia also stated: “We have less patrons overall as a result, so all of our product sales are plunging.” Furthermore, it seems that smokers are getting more organised and picking up their tobacco products abroad, which would be catastrophic to the French industry.
E-cigarettes: a solution recommended by Agnès Buzyn
Other solutions that smokers have found to face these increased prices are black market cigarettes, or switching to vaping.
This latter alternative has been recommended by the Minister for Health, Agnès Buzyn. Even though she considers that there is no magic recipe for smokers, e-cigarettes can help those with a strong addiction.
In any case, the hike in cigarette prices is doing what it is supposed to do, as the Ministry for Health reported a reduction of 1 million smokers in France from 2016 to 2017. This is the most significant drop in the smoking rate ever recorded in France.