There are approximately 16 million smokers in France, 70% of whom have reported trying to quit smoking. In 2013, 47.5 billion cigarettes were sold in France, with a tobacco market turnover of 15.3 billion euros. In 2015, the number of cigarettes sold amounted to 45.5 billion, 2 billion less than in 2013. In 2015, 56.3 thousand tonnes of tobacco were sold, compared to 55.4 thousand in 2012 and 58.3 thousand in 2013. Blond tobacco cigarettes accounted for 95.6% of sales in 2013 compared with 89.9% in 2005, to the detriment of dark tobacco cigarettes, which have been declining year after year in terms of market share
Over the past twenty years, however, cigarette sales have declined in France due to the rise in tobacco prices: +40% over the past 10 years. Thanks to the rise in the price of tobacco, tobacco-related tax revenues generate 14 billion euros for the State. The rise of the electronic cigarette has contributed significantly to the slowdown in the tobacco market. While the decline in cigarette sales did not affect the overall turnover of the tobacco market until 2012, it has been stagnating since 2013.
However, sales of scaferlati (traditional French ribbon cut tobacco for pipe and rolling) have continued to increase. In 2013, the sector recorded a 2% increase in turnover, with a 2.6% increase for roll-your-own tobacco.
The tobacco market is dominated by a few leaders: Philip Morris International (which owns the Malboro and Philip Morris brands), the Seita group (which owns the Fortuna, Gauloises and Gitanes brands), Altadis Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco. There are also about forty tobacco distributors in France, the main one being Logista France. Finally, the retail sale of tobacco products is regulated by the Customs Department.
The rise in tobacco prices has significantly contributed to the growth of the black market. For example, according to a study by the KPMG group, more than one in four cigarettes smoked in 2013 was purchased on the black market, with cross-border sales increasing by 36%. According to the company, the share of cigarettes purchased on the black market in France increased from 22.6% in 2012 to 25.2% in 2013.
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