Travellers within EU could soon bring more cigarettes into France

The work of a French student could increase the limit from 200 to 800

A court ruling means France must increase the limit on the number of cigarettes travellers from the EU can bring into the country
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Travellers will soon be able to bring more cigarettes into France from other European Union (EU) countries thanks to a French student.

A recent decision from the Conseil d’Etat, France's supreme court for administrative justice means Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne must pass a decree to bring France into line with European law.

Up until now, travellers coming from EU countries could bring back up to 200 cigarettes with them, while EU regulation stipulates a cap of 800. Ms Borne must within six months either increase the cap to 800, or not set a cap at all.

French student Sami Gam, 22, noticed the discrepancy nine months ago, after seeing several articles in the press.

Mr Gam, who is currently studying at L'Institut d'études politiques de Paris, Paris’ political studies institute, commonly known as Sciences-Po, took on the French state at the Conseil d’Etat without the help of a lawyer.

Mr Gam, who has a degree in law, told French media network France TV Info that the outcome was not settled in advance. “The issue was uncertain. It was the first time I had an appeal in front of a judge and so it is very pleasant to start my career like this”.

Read also: France reviews increasing cigarette prices to €12 per pack

‘The state must respect its obligations’

He said for him it was a matter of principle rather than about smoking, as he feels he does not smoke very much.

“If you drive through a red light, you can be fined as you have broken the law and that is totally normal,” he said.

“But in the same way, the state must respect its obligations. It is normal in my view to fight this illegality, the fact is that French law differs from European regulation on this point. The vast majority of citizens do not necessarily know this because they are not lawyers”.

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