France increases cigarette prices as personal use import limits are lifted

cigarette prices

Cigarette prices have hit an all-time high in France, with the average cost of a single packet now sitting at €11.50. At the same time, limits on personal use imports within the EU have been lifted.  

Mixed messages abound when it comes to the purchase of cigarettes in France these days. On the one hand, the price of individual packets has gone up twice this year so far in a clear effort to curb smoking in the country while on the other, the government has lifted the one carton per person import limit into France from other EU countries, meaning that if smokers want to bring back a large supply for less, they simply need to cross the border to take advantage of cheaper prices in the country’s European neighbours.  


At the start of 2024, the French government raised cigarette prices, both pre-rolled and loose tobacco, to a record high of €11 per pack on average. This was quickly followed up on 1st March with another hike of 50¢ per packet, bringing the cost of a single cigarette up to an average of 58¢.  

These prices, which are a full 70% higher than a decade ago, are designed to be deterrents to smokers, with the idea being that by making the cost so untenable, people will have to quit or suffer financial hardship.  

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The move is part of an overall government plan put into motion last November to create a smoking-free society by 2032. In addition to yearly price rises, the government is also imposing bans on smoking in public spaces, such as beaches and parks. There are ongoing discussions about bans on disposable e-cigarettes. 


But these endeavours are commendable, and have been widely welcomed by health officials and authorities, since 27th March, France has, by official decree, changes the rules on importing cigarettes into the country from other EU nations.

Essentially, the limit of one carton per person has been lifted, allowing smokers to bring home a much larger supply of cigarettes for personal consumption.  

The rules state that the consumer must be 18 or older and that the cigarettes are for personal use only. Additionally, the person must be “reasonable” in the quantity brought back, and prove, through a set of criteria, that they are not bringing tobacco into France to sell for profit. 

France’s neighbours, including Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Andorra, all sell tobacco products for considerably less than the domestic prices, ranging from €4 in Andorra to a pricier €9.50 in Switzerland. A packet of cigarettes in Italy will set consumers back about €6. 


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