The pack of cigarettes has increased sharply in recent years. And it’s not about to stop. A further increase is expected from 2023, further worrying tobacconists who are seeing their turnover drop.
Tobacco subject to a double increase
The progressive increase in tobacco on French soil has been implemented in order to deter smokers. Some packages now exceed 10 euros. Elisabeth Borne announced it, the price of cigarettes will follow inflation. After taking 50 cents more in 2022, the pack of cigarettes will reach 35 cents more in 2023.
It’s been a few months now that tobacconists have been waiting for a new increase. Indeed, inflation caused the value of the tobacco market to fall by 8% last year, resulting in falling trade margins and a stock market price that also slumps. It is for this reason that the tobacconists are campaigning for small and regular increases rather than a sharp and brutal increase which could turn away smokers once and for all. With an increase in excise duties, tobacconists would not be able to take advantage of soaring prices.
The tobacco trade abroad: an increasingly frequent practice, although prohibited
However, who says increase in the price of the package, also says system D. Smokers already impacted by inflation are trying to find other ways to get their cigarettes. Buying on the black market and buying abroad are two preferred avenues. The French State also estimates the tax loss linked to these practices at 5 billion euros.
Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Belgium seem to be the favorite playgrounds for smokers to get their packages cheaper. Especially since the stocks are still in good shape since the countries are delivered far more cigarettes than their real needs.
The black market meanwhile also worries the State and tobacconists since around 400 million euros in sales are lost each year. Only 1.9% of cigarettes from the black market are counterfeits, 98.1% therefore come directly from manufacturers’ factories.