France to crack down on smoking – minister

Neutral cigarette packaging, more taxes and an extension of smoking bans in public areas - these are some of the initiatives announced by France's health minister in a new crackdown on smoking.

France to crack down on smoking - minister
Ta Duc

One in three people in France smokes, and 73,000 deaths per year are due to smoking-related illnesses.

In a bid to reduce this figure, health secretary Marisol Touraine has already introduced a 40 centime hike in tax on cigarettes, due to start on October 1.

Other initiatives, such as packaging without logos, further smoking bans and tax increases on cheaper tobacco products more frequently bought by younger smokers, are due to be introduced in the next few weeks.

Money raised from the increase of taxes, expected to reach €200 million, will go towards health programmes helping people with their nicotine addiction.

But tobacconists have already expressed concerns for the effect the new initiatives will have on their businesses.

Pascal Montredon, president of the Confederation of Tobacconists, said : “They tells us that the price of cigarettes will continue to increase, but at a rate of 6 or 7 percent per year a packet will be €10 at the end of [the Socialist Party’s] five years in power. It’s just madness.”

A day of protest against the new anti-smoking plans is being organised this Thursday in more than 100 towns across the country.

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Marseille becomes latest French city to declares its beaches a no-smoking zone

The French city of Marseille has made its beaches no-smoking zones after a successful trial last summer.

Marseille becomes latest French city to declares its beaches a no-smoking zone
From Saturday, smoking will be banned on Marseille's four main beaches. Photo: AFP

From Saturday, August 15th, smoking will be banned on the city's Borély, Bonneveine, Pointe-Rouge and Prophète beaches until October 31st.

The city ran a trial smoking ban on beaches last summer, but now local authorities are bringing back the ban for the summer season.


It joins La Rochelle, where smoking on the beach was banned last year, while several French cities including Paris and Strasbourg have introduced smoking bans in some parks.

Marseille's Premier Adjoint Benoît Payan said that as well as the health problems of passive smoking, especially for children, cigarettes were a pollution hazard.

He tweeted: “Just one cigarette can pollute 500l of water.”

READ ALSO Will park and beach bans lead to France stubbing out its smoking habit?