Cigarette sales in France dropped to a record low in 2008..

January 12, 2009 - Cigarette sales in France dropped to a record low in 2008, research by British American Tobacco (BAT) shows. BAT France said 54.4 billion cigarettes were sold in 2008 in France, down 2.3 percent from 2007. In 1998, almost 85 billion cigarettes were sold in France. BAT cited bans on smoking in bars and public places as well as high prices as factors encouraging the formerly smoking-mad French to stub out their cigarettes for good. The price of cigarettes, which are heavily taxed, has risen steadily in recent years. The average price of a packet was EUR 5.30 (USD 7.11) last year, up from EUR 2.96 (USD 3.97) a decade earlier.

BAT France's head of institutional relations, Yves Trevilly,"It is clear that from the moment that prices go up in France, people will cross the border where they can get cigarettes more cheaply." He said almost one in four cigarettes smoked in France last year was bought abroad, mainly in Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium.

French health authorities have told the National Sanitary Institute that there was a 15 percent decrease in admissions of patients with heart attack and stroke to hospitals since the smoking ban in restaurants, hotels and casinos was implemented January 2007. (France: Heart Attack Rates Drop Following National Smoking Ban, Medical News Today, 2/29/2008)

Reference: Smoking ban in cafes puts French off cigarettes, Reuters, 1/6/2009 and Cigarette sales at record low, Tobacco Journal International, 1/7/2009.