Tobacco protest dumps 1,2 tonnes of carrots on Paris

Tobacconists are delivering 1,2 tonnes of carrots to the French health ministry today as part of a protest at the rising price of a packet of cigarettes.

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A convoy of 50 vehicles has been driving very slowly towards Paris since the early hours - in a “snail operation” around the capital’s ring road (périphérique) - to denounce what some have called “the madness” of a €10 packet of cigarettes.

At midday, the tobacconists dropped 1,2 tonnes of carrots in front of the ministry (as carrots are the profession’s symbol) in protest at rising prices.

According to the minister for health, the price of a cigarette packet is expected to rise six times from now to 2020, at which point it is expected to reach €10.

This month, the minimum price set for a packet rose from €6,61 up to €7,33, ahead of a further rise in prices expected in November.

French tobacconists have said they are worried that customers will be tempted by lower prices over the border in neighbouring countries, and the risk of a parallel market rising up in response to the €10 cost.

They are demanding a cost more in line with what they say are other prices seen across Europe, and some of the protesters wore shirts reading “Tous Frontaliers en Peril” (“All those near the border in peril!”).

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