Taking on Tobacco
There is a war happening in France between the government and the tobacco industry. As you may remember from our previous article, Going Up In Smoke, the French government proposed a law to outlaw on screen smoking in an effort to curb it’s appeal amongst young citizens. On the 1st of March a singular euro increase in the price of cigarettes will bring the average price of a pack to 8 euros, or $9.80 USD with the plan being to increase the price to 10 euros ( or $12.25 USD) before the end of 2020.
The plan, proposed by Health Minister Agnès Buzyn states that there will be 6 price increases in total and that 80% of that price goes to taxes worth more than 14 billion euros annually to the treasury. Buzyn stated that "These increases spread over time will allow people to prepare, to find ways to stop smoking.” According to the president of the anti-smoking group Droits des Non Fumeurs, Gerard Audereau, more than 47 billion cigarettes are smoked in France every year, and smoking is a key factor in 78,000 deaths each year in France which makes it the country's leading cause of premature death.
Comparatively, approximately 28% of French adults smoke versus 17% of U.S. adults, according to the Center for Disease Control and manufacturers are estimating that the drop in French sales in 2018 will be 10-15%
Late last year, French Socialist senator Nadine Grelet-Certenais accused France’s film-makers of continuing to advertise for the tobacco industry when she stated in the parliament that “Seventy per cent of new French films have at least one scene of someone smoking. This more or less helps to make its use banal, even promote it, to children and adolescents.” The government has planned to raise the price of cigarettes and tobacco in an effort do de-popularize it for the younger generations of French citizens.
There is, however, a silver lining to the smoking crisis as public opinion surveys that show increased numbers of French citizens intend to quit and that the sales of nicotine patches and nicotine chewing gum have increased by nearly 30% as a result of the new measures.
We hope you've enjoyed learning about the French government's efforts of Taking on Tobacco! What do you think about the proposed price hike? Comment below with your thoughts!