France to introduce strict anti-smoking laws

Hike in taxes on cigarettes & more tobacco-free zones



December 5, 2023

/ By / Paris

France to introduce strict anti-smoking laws

France is said to be the largest market for illicit cigarettes and comprises the highest population of smokers in the EU

Coinciding with the Paris 2024 Olympics, next year France is set to implement a four-year plan for anti-tobacco campaign, which includes restrictive measures such as designated areas for smoking and hike in prices of cigarettes to curb one of the leading causes of preventable mortality.

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Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games that is forecast to bring nearly 15 million spectators and accredited people to the French capital, complemented by a tourism boost of up to EUR 4 billion, France is on the gates of key opportunities, and challenges, too. France will introduce a four-year plan to reduce smoking in the country, which includes restrictive measures such as designated areas for smoking. This move comes in the wake of a global concern for tobacco-related illnesses and preventable mortality. 

According to reports, starting in 2024, France will start a four-year plan for anti-tobacco. Those found violating the rule, especially in places like schools and government-owned forests and green areas, might be fined as the authorities have yet to publish details.

France is said to be the largest market for illicit cigarettes and comprising the highest population of smokers in the European Union (EU), as a result suffers from damaged revenue from taxation and a risk to national security for the same.

Estimations suggest that there are some 7,200 tobacco-free zones in the country, including woodland in southern France which is threatened by wildfires.

Eurostat, EU office for statistics, reveals that the daily percentage share of smokers in France is higher than the EU average. More specifically, around 22.2 pc of people aged 15 and older smoke daily in France compared to 19.7 pc which is the average of smokers in the EU.

Notably, smoking is the top cause of preventable deaths in France, killing 75,000 people per year, says the statement. In addition, smoking is the top cause of premature death before 65 years old, the health minister pointed out. He adds that despite the figures, the daily use of tobacco concerns around 12 million French people, a quarter of the adult population.f

According to reports, the price of a pack of cigarettes in France will reach the top 13 in 2027 and disposable e-cigarettes will be banned as a part of the nation’s campaign to create a “free of tobacco” generation by 2032. In addition, smoking in public spaces including parks, beaches and forests is prohibited.

Aurelien Rousseau

Aurelien Rousseau

“Tobacco plays a key role in illnesses and preventable mortality, and every day France pays a heavy price for smoking,” says Health Minister of France, Aurelien Rousseau.

The statement adds that some cities such as Barcelona have banned smoking on beaches in an effort to stop cigarette butt littering. More than 100 of the country’s over 3,000 beaches introduced a ban in July including places such as the Costa del Sol and Balearic islands.

Prices of cigarettes are expected to rise gradually, with a pack costing EUR 12 in 2025 and EUR 13 in 2027, the French ministry said in its statement. A pack is currently priced between EUR 10-11. Tobacco costs the state around EUR 156 billion, including the economic value of lives lost, the loss of quality of life for patients with cancer caused by smoking and state spending on prevention and care. 

The statement adds that France is not the only European country to introduce such measures as countries like Ireland, Hungary, Greece and Malta have already implemented such measures.



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