Published on Nov. 27, 2023 at 6:58 p.m. Updated on Nov. 28, 2023 at 3:41 p.m.
The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, detailed this Tuesday morning the government’s strategy to reduce smoking, while the latter has not declined in France for several years. Anti-tobacco associations are pushing for a significant increase in cigarette prices, a measure they believe is most likely to reduce smoking.
On this point, the government does not plan to go beyond the tax reform passed last year, which indexes excise taxes to inflation in year N-1 (instead of year N-2) and above all uncapped this increase, which could not exceed 1.75% per year. This led to a significant increase in taxes at the start of 2023, leading manufacturers to raise their prices. The average price of the package thus reached 11.14 euros in mid-2023 and should increase again by 40 to 50 cents next January.
Beaches, parks and gardens, forests, around schools
Inflation should then slow down, but the government calculates that the price of a packet of cigarettes should reach 12 euros from 2025, and 13 euros “during 2026”. An increase of 2 euros compared to the current situation which may not be enough for associations. But Bercy does not want to go further, while Customs already has to deal with cross-border sales and traffic which are clearly increasing.
Among other measures, the government announced this Tuesday, confirming information from “Echos”, an extension of the areas where smoking is prohibited. Since 2007, this has been the case in all closed and covered places welcoming the public or which constitute workplaces, in health establishments, in all public transport and throughout schools, public and private middle and high schools (including open places such as playgrounds).
The list unveiled by the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau on Tuesday morning aims to tackle outdoor places, where there can be a lot of people, and which are already in the sights of many municipalities. Like beaches in particular, for which prohibition orders multiply locally in summer.
The smoking ban will also be generalized in parks and gardens, forests and around schools. Here again, some municipalities have already taken the plunge. A text passed last summer also establishes a legal ban on smoking in all woods and forests and up to a distance of 200 meters from them, during the fire risk period defined by prefectural decree.
“Tobacco-free will now be the norm,” said Aurélien Rousseau during the presentation to the press of the national anti-tobacco program. “Tobacco-free spaces – of which there are already more than 7,200 across more than 73 departments – are above all the result of a movement driven locally by the municipalities. Today we are reversing the responsibility and establishing this principle which is becoming the rule,” he said.
In the National Assembly, deputies must examine this Tuesday a transpartisan bill banning single-use e-cigarettes. Promised by the government, this ban on “puffs” aims to better protect the health of young people and the environment. It is widely supported by deputies but the precise scope of the ban is still debated.
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