Government targets smokers to help pay off its debt mountain - latest price hike is expected to net an additional one billion euros in revenue.
Earlier this month French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac announced government plans to increase taxes on sales of cheaper cigarettes, a seemingly laudable move destined to both increase the income of a cash-strapped public purse and to dissuade people from smoking. But a number of health experts believe that the project will in reality have the perverse effect of benefitting the tobacco industry while penalizing mostly those smokers among lowest income groups. "It is scandalous," says Catherine Hill, an epidemiologist with a leading European cancer research and treatment centre, the Institut Gustave Roussy. "This isn’t a public health measure. It is a measure for enriching Philip Morris." Michaël Hajdenberg reports.