With a reduction in smoking as the goal, the fight against tobacco has led to increasingly heavy taxation and ever-tighter restrictions on the sale and consumption of cigarettes. If the public authorities continue along this path aimed at « denormalising » the tobacco industry, the question of prohibition or nationalisation is likely to end up sooner or later as the heart of the debate.
Imposing generic packaging — something that has gone into force in Australia and is contained in proposed legislation, particularly in France — amounts to nothing less than « nationalisation » — in all but name — of cigarette packaging. The idea of nationalising the tobacco industry will come to appear less preposterous as anti- tobacco groups bring it up openly, in any case an old tradition in France.
The existence of a nationalised tobacco industry is not the solution to smoking-related health problems. A measure of this type will not make tobacco consumption go away, and it is economically inefficient.