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France Draws Back from Gaulois Tradition

  • February 2nd, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

706174_cigarette.jpgFrance is the latest in Europe to start catching up with the more anti-smoking counties like Australia or Canada, on 1.2.07 commencing a ban on smoking in public places.

The ban will apply in workplaces or public areas such as shops, railways stations, airports, hospitals or schools.

The restaurant business has been given a year to phase in the change, but even favourite corner cafes where animated-discussion-with-the-aid-of-a-Gaulois takes place, will then be off-limits too.

Inspectors will be appointed to check that the change is taken seriously and offenders will pay an appx. A$110 fine.

The French action chimes in with a continent-wide initiative just announced (30.1.07) by the European Commission.

It has brought out a Green Paper inviting the public to take part in a debate about the options, ranging from the status quo (where mainly, individual countries go their own way), through to binding, anti-smoking legislation for the whole of the European Union.

It favours the option of legislation, making out an argument that passive smoking affects all, and showing research evidence that second-hand smoke increases the risk of cancer or heart disease in non-smokers, by 20-30%.

EU surveys show that as in France, up to 70% of citizens want the controls against smoking.

The European Health Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, an avowed ex-smoker, was emphatic:

“The fact is that passive smoking can kill”, he said.

He announced an exhibition in Brussels of warning photographs posted on cigarette packets in Australia, Brazil and Canada.

These have so far only been taken up by one European country, Belgium, but most of the EU member states have bans now in major public places such as theatres, public transport, schools and hospitals and government buildings.

Bans in all enclosed spaces now apply in Ireland and Scotland, with the rest of the United Kingdom to follow this year.

Reference: Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level; Green Paper; Commission of the European Communities, Brussels 31.1.07, COM(2007)

“L’interdiction de fumer dans les lieux publics est largement soutenue par l’opinion”, Le Monde, Paris, 1.2.07, p 11. (Public opinion generally supports the ban on smoking in public places).

Picture: stock.schng