France to crack down on smoking – minister

France to crack down on smoking - minister
Ta Duc
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.

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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