France’s smokers take a hit as tax hikes begin

Smoking Brutal Man

Smokers in France ready themselves to feel the pinch, as a duty on cigarettes becomes operational. Starting October 1, no one pack of cigarettes will be found for less than 6 euros. The government is expecting for big savings as an effect.

The duty on produced cigarettes as well as roll-your-own will increase by 6.5 % on October 1, in a boost that hasn’t been observed in France since 2004. The duty rise translates to 40 cents more per pack, with the least expensive at 6,10 euros and the most  high-priced coming in at more than 7 euros.

“Our predecessors had intended this increase but we’re instating it because an deal has finally been attained between the state and tobacco companies,” said Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac on French radio on September 30.

The hikes will put a predicted one billion euros back into the government’s budget. In 2011, tobacco was taxed at 80%, which led 13.8 billion euros to France’s public finances.

While the duty increase will mean big savings for France, it could have an effect on sales in France’s “tabacs” or cigarette stores, which are something of a centre of French culture.

Many tobacco companies are concerned about that smoking people will go abroad to buy cheaper cigarette packs. Countries that are situated near France provide cigarettes for nearly 2 euros less, with Italy and Luxembourg offering packs for 4,90 euros and 4,40 euros, correspondingly.

Already, a predicted 20% of France’s smokers purchase their cigarettes not in France but other countries.

But, Cahuzac did not exclude the possibility of increasing even more over the years.

“It is possible that in the following five years, the cost of cigarettes will get higher, as element of a national public health system,” said Cahuzac.

France’s cigarette sales may also be affected by Brussels soon, where a European anti-tobacco instruction is in the process. It would compel cigarette packs to be sold without logos or brand names, and reduce or ban cigarette displays in cigarette stores.


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