Smoking might still a be a key component of what we associate with Parisian chic, but smokers in France could be left fuming if the French health minister has his way.
Yesterday, French newspaper Le Figaro reported the minister, Marisol Touraine, is considering a proposal to ban several tobacco brand names under part of the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which came into effect in May.
This could include brands such as Lucky Strike, Marlboro Gold, and Imperial Brands' Gauloises and Gitanes.
City A.M. understands major tobacco brands have been aware of Touraine's aims for several weeks, but no light has been shed yet on what the brand crackdown might entail.
An Imperial Brands spokesperson told City A.M. Touraine would be applying "an extremely broad interpretation" of Article 13 of TPD, which states that the labelling of a tobacco product should not suggest it has any health benefit over another tobacco product or that it has "vitalising, energetic, healing, natural or organic properties".
Touraine might broaden this definition to apply this to brands that seem "cool" or to idealise smoking. France banned public smoking in enclosed spaces (including bars and restaurants) in 2006.
In the US, Marlboro Gold, which was previously named Marlboro Lights previously came under fire for the use of the word "light". It was banned alongside a range of other terms that implied some cigarette brands were less dangerous to smokers.
Imperial Brands' French subsidiary Seita, together with the other Big Four cigarette makers Philip Morris International (which produces Marlboro), Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco, have jointly written to the French government to seek clarity on the issue.