The French government is considering raising the price of cigarettes to €12 per packet in 2024.
It comes as part of a review of the price of tobacco in the country, which could see a packet of cigarettes cost €13 by 2027.
A source close to the government said that “Public health experts are very clear. We must go further than a few cents to have an impact on consumption”, reports French news and sports radio channel RMC.
Speaking to the latter on Monday August 28, Olivier Véran, the government spokesperson confirmed that the increases were being considered.
He said that changes to cigarette prices are part of the discussions every year and the government then decides on what to act.
Although the Ministry of Health is in favour of the increase, this view is not unanimous.
One minister fears that the sudden rise would “be viewed as the end of the last pleasure for the working class”, according to an anonymous source speaking to RMC.
However, the rise could play an important role in helping to balance the budget for 2024.
Every year tobacco is attributed as leading to the deaths of 66,000 people in France and is reported to cost the health services between €20-26billion.
The price of tobacco has already seen a rise from May 1 2023, with increases between 20 and 90 cents depending on brand. It means some packets can already cost €11.
The government has also said it intends to index tobacco prices to inflation.