Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

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Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

As Parisians continue to ignore laws that ban smoking inside closed off cafe terraces, the Town Hall has sent a reminder to police that they shouldn't hesitate to crack down on both the smokers and the cafe owners not abiding by the rules.


Bernard Jomier, the Paris Town Hall councillor in charge of health matters wrote a letter to the police this week urging them to take action against those flouting the law by lighting up on closed terraces, Le Parisien newspaper reports.
"It's become normal to disrespect the law," Jomier, from France's Green EELV party wrote.
"It is crucial that we manage to enforce the law before next winter. Passive smoking is behind about 10 percent of the 70,000 deaths due to smoking each year," he added.
Jomier urged officers to take stronger action in enforcing the law, which has seen smoking banned in enclosed places since 2008. 
Five years later in 2013, a Paris court ruled that smoking in close-off terraces was also illegal, after the anti-smoking lobby group ‘Droit des non-fumeurs’ (DNR, Non-smokers’ rights) brought up a case against five Parisian bars.
The court deemed a terrace can still be classified as 'open' as long as no more than three sides were closed off. 
The law states that cafe owners who allow their customers to smoke in closed-off terraces should face a fine of €135, or up to €750 if smoking is encouraged by providing ash-trays. Smokers are liable for a €68 fine, but in practice this is rarely enforced. 
There are about 45,000 closed terraces registered in France and constant attention from police forces is required if the law is to be respected in all of them. 
Emmanuelle Beguinot, director of the National Committee Against Smoking (CNCT), supports the push.
"We really welcome this initiative and it is only fair that when the law is not respected there should be sanctions," she told The Local on Wednesday.
"The law is meant to protect customers and people who work in these establishments, and it is also a matter of equity for other businesses who respect the law."
"Moreover, people support these laws and initiatives which aim to ban smoking."
Claude Evin, the former minister who was behind France's first major anti-smoking laws back in 1991 that, told Le Parisien newspaper that the police are no doubt too busy to be handing out fines to people smoking in closed-off terraces. He added that officers issued "several dozen" fines a year. 
Smoking was banned in "enclosed public spaces" in 2008, and since then bar-owners and restaurateurs in France begun constructing outdoor terraces, often enclosed by canvas or even glass screens in a bid to allow clients to smoke at their table while being sheltered from the elements.
A healthcare bill is currently going through the French parliament that would see smoking banned in cars where children are present and electronic cigarettes also banned in certain public spaces where youngsters are.
by Chloe Farand


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