Sales of cigarettes in France, which dropped about 7.6 percent last year, were impacted by high taxes and, to a lesser extent, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, according to an Agence France Presse story.
Pascal Montredon, the head of the French association of tobacco shop owners, blamed the drop in sales on recent tax hikes.
Later this month the third tax hike in a little over one year will go into effect, at which point 80 centimes will have been added to the price of a pack of cigarettes.
The price of the most popular brand will have risen by about 11 percent to €7, while the price of the cheapest brand will have gone up by about 12 percent to €6.50.
Montredon said the high prices had encouraged the expansion of illegal imports, which he estimated as accounting for nearly one in four of the cigarettes smoked in France.
The growing popularity of e-cigarettes, which for the moment were tolerated in many places where smoking was banned, must have had an impact, added Montredon, but not as big an impact as the parallel market had had.
Category: Breaking News