- France is introducing price hikes and public smoking bans to slash tobacco use
France – the home of legendary cigarette lovers including Brigitte Bardot – is to ban smoking in public places including beaches, parks, woods and close to schools.
The radical step comes as the French fail to give up tobacco, which causes some 75,000 avoidable deaths a year.
Health minister Aurélien Rousseau said on Tuesday that a new anti-smoking legislative programme would pass through parliament early next year.
‘From now on, no-smoking areas will be the norm,’ said Mr Rousseau. ‘We are now shifting the responsibility to central government, and will establish a principle which will become the rule.’
Taxes on tobacco will also go up, so that a packet of 20 will cost the equivalent of around £12 by 2025, said Mr Rousseau.
And single-use disposable e-cigarettes that are particularly popular among young people will also be outlawed.
It is all part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to create ‘the first tobacco-free generation by 2032’, Mr Rousseau added.
French actress Brigitte Bardot smokes a cigarette on the set of the film Le Repos du Guerrier, directed by Roger Vadim (L)
Its a plan aimed that contrasts with France’s so-called ‘smoking aesthetic’, associated with the country’s litany of philosophers, writers, artists and film-stars, among them Madame Bardot, who is now 89, and who regularly smoked in her hit films.
Other famous French chain smokers including war leader and former President Charles De Gaulle, who died in 1970 aged 79.
There are still almost 25,000 tobacco outlets in France, with around 31 billion cigarettes being sold every year.
Around a quarter of adults are ‘daily smokers’, while some 3 million vape regularly, according to official figures.
Whereas Britain and Germany have halved the rate of smoking for young people, France health reports reveals that around 29 per cent of French teens and students still smoke.
For years the country has proposed anti-smoking legislation – though between 2012 and 2014, the number of smokers climbed four per cent nationwide.
In 2016, France announced it was thinking about cracking down on certain tobacco brands because they were considered ‘cool’.
France has strict regulation on the direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products in an effort to control its image and help smokers away from addiction.
As in Britain, all tobacco products also have to carry health warnings.
Customers arrive at a tobacconist in Perthus, a small town on the French-Spanish border, 2018
The British government last month proposed banning younger generations from ever buying cigarettes– a move that will give the UK some of the world’s toughest smoking rules.
If passed into law, the smoking age would rise by one year every year, potentially phasing out smoking among young people almost completely as soon as 2040, a briefing paper said.
Announcing the plan at Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘A 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette’.