France, a country famous for making smoking look sophisticated will soon be adopting neutral packaging in line with most other European countries who are seeing the benefits anti-smoking legislation.

The legislation on plain packaging for cigarettes is set to come into force in 2016. This will come as another crushing blow for tobacco companies already reeling from similar laws introduced in other countries.

The new legislations will also be aimed at curbing the use of electronic cigarettes and will bring to an end a long association with cigarette smoking, personified by the likes of Brigitte Bardot.

Cigarette packaging will soon feature the same colours, typesetting and will be a uniform size and shape. It is hoped that the new packaging will dissuade a new generation of young people from taking up the habit with plain packaging making smoking less attractive.

According to national statistics smoking causes 200 deaths a day in France with 28% of the population smokers. The plan is to reduce this figure to 20% in 10 years.

An EU directive passed in February requires tobacco companies to cover 65% of their packaging with text and health warnings. Not surprisingly this hasn’t gone down well with French tobacco companies who are calling it a ‘catastrophe’.