Cigarette packets could cost €10 each by 2018

The French minister for health, Agnès Buzyn, has announced she would like to raise the cost of a packet of cigarettes to €10 each by 2018.

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In a plan of action addressed to the Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, the minister said her goal was to “quickly and strongly” raise the price of tobacco, so that “the generation born today will be the first without it”, adding to her statement in a previous interview that she would “not be against” charging €10 per packet.

Packets currently cost around €6.50 to €7.

Speaking to French news outlet RTL, she said that she hopes to see packets costing €10 within three years at least, if not by 2018. She used Great Britain as an example of how stringent laws and prices on tobacco are said to have helped reduce smoking levels in the past 10-12 years.

Buzyn has previously stated that she would not be happy with price rises of ten centimes, as it would not be a significant enough change.

She has called her work part of the intensifying “battle against tobacco use”, and said using tobacco is the “biggest avoidable cause of death”.

Her plans also include giving extra money to prevention and awareness campaigns. Her message to Philippe also mentioned she would take action against other issues including alcohol use, obesity, sedentariness, cancer prevention, and health at work and in prisons.

According to figures shown in Le Parisien newspaper, from the Observatoire Français des Drogues et des Toxicomanies (l’OFDT), the number of cigarettes sold in France has been on a gradual decline in the past 10 years, with the price per packet increasing to today’s figures from lows of around €5 in 2007.