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EU takes France to court for fixing minimum cigarette prices

European Union regulators are taking France to court for fixing minimum prices on cigarettes, advising the country to raise taxes on tobacco instead.

„Such prices infringe community law, distort competition and benefit only manufacturers,” the European Commission, the Brussels-based regulator, said in a statement today. „To achieve the objective of reducing tobacco consumption, the commission advocates increasing the excise duty on cigarettes.” The commission also said Belgium has stopped setting minimum prices on cigarettes and instead increased taxes. Altria Group Inc. and Altadis SA are the tobacco companies that sell the most cigarettes in France. (Bloomberg)