France moves towards plain cigarette packaging and e-cig ban
France is considering a move towards plain packaging for cigarettes and banning e-cigarettes in public places in what could be one of the world’s toughest anti-smoking policies.
Health Minister Marisol Touraine will next month present a law that would stop cigarette manufacturers from printing their distinctive logos on packages, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Friday.
The newspaper said that plain packaging, with the cigarette brand written in small lettering under a graphic health warning, would be one of a number of measures to curb smoking, including a ban on using e-cigarettes, or “vaping”, in public places, Le Figaro said.
Australia pioneered plain packaging for cigarettes in 2012 and Britain, New Zealand and Ireland all plan similar bans.
The proposed legislation will be presented to French lawmakers next month.
France’s tobacco retailers, whose strictly regulated “Tabac” outlets are a feature of the French landscape, believe that the government has misunderstood the problem if it pushes ahead with this legislation.
“We are deeply shocked,” Pascal Montredon, who is head of France’s tobacco retailers’ union, told Le Figaro. “We all feel that the government doesn’t know what it’s doing. Australia has already introduced plain packaging, and the number of cigarettes sold has actually gone up.
“This measure will make the packets easier to copy and increase the number of counterfeit cigarettes,” he added. “As for banning electronic cigarettes in public places, why not? But the real problem is that sales are not regulated. We’ve asked the government to act on this and they’ve done nothing. Only regulated Tabacs should be able to sell these products.”