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French smokers to be hit by New Year price hike

Sophie Inge · 30 Dec 2013, 13:35

Published: 30 Dec 2013 13:35 GMT+01:00

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The hike in prices – which will take place on January 13th, was originally due to come in a week earlier, but postponed for bureaucratic reasons, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Normally, price changes are imposed on the first Monday of the quarter.

The new prices will mean that a packet of Marlboro will set smokers back by €7, Le Parisien reported.

A packet of Camel or Philip Morris, however, will cost slightly less at €6.90; and Gauloises will be €6.60.

Lucky Strike and Winston cigarettes are among the cheapest at €6.50.

There’s at least one small piece of good news for smokers: the French government had initially proposed raising the price of all cigarettes by 40 centimes.

However, the president of the French tobacconists associatio,n Pascal Montredon told the government that such a steep hike was “irrational” and would not be accepted by his members.

The latest rise of 20 centimes follows a rise of 40 centimes in October 2012, and of 20 centimes last July.

Taxes from cigarettes are expected to bring in nearly €15 billion in 2014. Had the government succeeded in imposing a 40 centimes rise, it would have banked about another €300 million.

The fact that cigarettes are now becoming even more expensive is likely to lead to more smokers trying e-cigarettes.

However, not all organizations have welcomed the cigarettes.

In August, French organization '60 Million Consumers' caused a stir with a report which claimed that e-cigarettes were "potentially carcinogenic" and not as safe as their manufacturers had made them out to be.

“In three cases out of ten, for products with or without nicotine, the content of formaldehyde was as much as the levels found in some conventional cigarettes,” the report said.

Story continues below…

Scientists also found traces of acrolein, a toxic molecule emitted in quantities “that exceeded the amount found in the smoke of some cigarettes” as well as traces of Acetaldehyde, another potentially toxic chemical.

However, cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos, who has published five studies on e-cigarettes, criticized the French report in an opinion piece for The Local.

In October, the European Parliament voted against reclassifying electronic cigarettes as medicinal, which would have restricted their sale to pharmacies. 

A French doctor who led a group of health professionals in supporting e-cigarettes this week, told The Local it was a "wise decision."

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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