Angry French tobacconists are mounting a protest campaign against government moves to force cigarette companies to use plain, unbranded packaging.
Hundreds of them marched through the streets of Paris claiming they will lose money if the legislation is introduced next year.
Besides organising a petition of support they have already dumped tones of carrots – representing the cigarette motif seen promoting French tobacconist shops – outside the ruling Socialist party’s HQ.
They have also been sabotaging speed cameras by “hooding” them in a symbolic “cover up” that they say deprives the government of money in the same way that anti-smoking legislation will reduce tobacco sales.
The packet design at the centre of the dispute has already been adopted in Australia. Sixty-five percent of it will be taken up with health warning photos and brand names will be simply written without logos or any identifying marks.
There is evidence this will discourage smoking.
On Wednesday French senators took out the clause requiring plain cigarette and tobacco packets and instead passed an amendment requiring health warnings to be made larger.
However the socialist government is expected to reintroduce the plain packet clause when the bill returns in to the Assemblée Nationale in September.
France is actively trying to reduce the number of French smokers, particularly among the young, of whom its estimated 33% of boys and 30% of girls smoke every day.