All cigarettes cost less in this department

The price of cigarettes has increased everywhere in France, but the prices are lower in one department.

All cigarettes cost less in this department

The price of cigarettes has increased everywhere in France, but the prices are lower in one department.

For smokers, it's an idyll. Not as much as with Spain or Andorra, certainly, but still. In France, smoking is becoming a real luxury. The price of packs of cigarettes continues to rise and rose again on January 1st. On average, you have to pay between €11.50 and €12.50 - depending on the brand - to put around twenty cigarettes in your pocket. That’s 60 cents per unit, twice as much as ten years ago.

All of France was entitled to this spectacular increase, resulting from the public health policy carried out to stem smoking and its medical consequences. The increase was even greater in one department because the prices charged were well below the national average.

For over 200 years, tobacco has been able to be purchased inexpensively in Corsica. On the island, residents are in fact taxed less than on the continent, the result of a decision taken by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1811. Since all this time, the amount taken by the State from each package was 25% lower. But the advantage is going up in smoke.

In 2020, the State launched a tax catch-up, little by little, by increasing over the years the amount of taxes it recovers. Thus, in 2022, the price of the package in Corsica had to be equal to at least 80% of the price charged in mainland France, then 85% in 2023 and 90% since January 1, 2024, before increasing to 95% in 2025. After this date, island tobacconists will still be able to continue to sell cigarettes 5% cheaper than in mainland France, but not lower.

Thus, currently, a package that costs €11.50 on the continent (Lucky Strike Gold or Vogue L'Optimum Gold for example) is priced at €10.40 in Corsica, while a package sold for €12.50 in Paris (red Marlboro for example) is only €11.40 in Bastia. On average, there is a difference between €1 and €1.50 per pack, or around ten euros per cartridge. Previously, the difference was around 2 euros. In 2025, it will only be 70 cents for a package which will be sold for 13 euros in other departments.

This decision to apply almost the same price for the sale of tobacco in Corsica as elsewhere in France is linked to two parameters, beyond the egalitarian aspect which governs the country. A first, health: according to a survey by Public Health France, Corsica records a number of lung cancers 31% higher than the national average. It was therefore decided to focus on one of the causes of this disease. The second parameter is financial: according to the Court of Auditors, the State lost 26 million euros in revenue each year by not applying the same taxation on the island as on the other side of the Mediterranean.

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