France Unveils Ambitious Anti-Smoking Plan to Create a Smoke-Free Generation

French Minister of Health and Prevention, Aurélien Rousseau, announced at a national anti-smoking initiative that “raising tobacco prices” stands as the most effective measure against smoking, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and various independent studies.

The plan aims to shape a “smoke-free generation” in France by 2032, a commitment made by current French President Emmanuel Macron. Minister Rousseau outlined the plan’s two key pillars: “strengthening tobacco taxation and bans.”

The primary objectives include preventing people, especially the youth, from starting to smoke and aiding smokers, particularly those in economically disadvantaged conditions, in quitting. As a landmark measure, the plan seeks to reduce the affordability of cigarettes by increasing prices.

Currently, the price for many tobacco brands has reached 11 euros per pack of 20. It is anticipated that this price will rise to at least 13 euros by 2026, with the first increase to 12 euros expected in 2025.

Cigarette pack prices are set to rise from January 1, 2024, with an additional increase of 40 to 50 cents due to inflation.

Furthermore, Minister Rousseau announced, “In line with Prime Minister Élisabeth’s commitment, we will ban the use of disposable e-cigarettes, as it is a ludicrous practice concerning public health and the environment.”

The decision to ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes, especially those favored by teenagers, will be presented in a bipartisan bill scheduled for committee review this Tuesday, with deliberations in the House on December 4.

Additionally, Rousseau declared that all beaches, public parks, forests, and certain public spaces, particularly those around schools, will become smoke-free areas.

“Smoke-free will now become the norm,” he emphasized. Smoke-free zones, which already number over 7,200 and are spread across more than 73 districts, are primarily the result of local government initiatives. “Today, we are shifting responsibility and establishing this as a rule,” he further explained.

The anti-smoking plan also intends to build on recent efforts by making tobacco less appealing, advocating for neutral packaging without branding for all tobacco and e-cigarette products.