France to ban smoking in public places

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Monday, October 9, 2006

No smoking
France's flag

France is to ban smoking in all public places in February 2007, the French prime minister, Dominique de Villepin has announced. However cafés, nightclubs and restaurants will not be required to comply until January 2008.

An offence would result in a fine of 75 euros for the person(s) responsible and 150 euros for the premises where the offence occurred.

When announcing the new law in a television interview, he stated his reason as being the "public health":

"We started on the basis of a simple observation - two figures: 60,000 deaths a year in our country linked directly to tobacco consumption and 5,000 deaths linked to passive smoking. It is an unacceptable reality in our country in terms of public health"

Public places will include stations, museums, government offices and shops, but not streets or private places such as houses or hotel rooms. He also stated that the country would pay for one-third of the costs of anti-smoking treatments:

"That would represent the first month of treatment," he said.

"There are also other solutions, for example the creation of closed, ventilated spaces, where (food and drink) service is not authorised in order to protect employees," he added.

Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

A BBC survey made in France, a country notorious for its use of tobacco suggests that 70% of the people support the ban.

The European Union's most enthusiastic smokers are found in Greece, Cyprus, and Portugal, according to findings published in May this year. When the law activates, France will join Ireland and Italy, which have passed similar measures. Italy, for example, has very strict measures, such as a minimum fine of 150 euros for smoking in public places with additional charges leveled if the offender was near a pregnant woman or a child under 13. Repeat offenders could be fined more than 275 euros, and imprisoned if they continued. In Switzerland, the canton of Ticino is the only canton in the nation to have banned smoking in restaurants. In the The Netherlands, smoking is banned in NS railway stations.

Sources

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