France to blow €100 million on lighting up unsellable cigarettes

France will have to cough up €100 million to pay tobacconists for all the unsold branded cigarette packets after the new law about plain packaging came into play.

France to blow €100 million on lighting up unsellable cigarettes
Photo: AFP
When France made the switch to neutral cigarette packages in January this year, the government was forced to buy out all the branded cigarette packages that tobacconists had not sold. 
This worked out to be an average of €3,000 per tobacconist in France – even though they had since May last year to get rid of their old stock.
While €3,000 may not sound like too much, there are apparently a lot more tobacconists in France than you'd think, because the total bill came to €100 million, reported BFM TV on Tuesday.
Yes, there were 250 tonnes of branded cigarettes – made up of 15 million packets of cigarettes and loose tobacco packets – that were deemed unusable according to the new law. 
This controversial law states that there is to be no eye-catching branding or bright logos, and all packages to be of a uniform size and colour. Brand names remain, but appear in a small, uniform font.
The refund process became all the more laborious when authorities decided that tobacconists needed to also provide information about where they had purchased their cigarettes. 
This was reportedly because some cigarette sellers were trying to cheat the system by sending in cigarettes that had been smuggled from elsewhere. 
Some 40 workers from cigarette distributor Logista are now slowly sorting the cigs and coughing up for them, in a process that is expected to last until May. 
Logista will then be reimbursed by the government, which will in turn get rid of the 15 million packets by burning them, the channel reported. 
In other words, €100 million is about to go up in smoke.

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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?