France may have an unfair reputation for being Europe's chimney when it comes to smoking but the French government is doing its best rectify that.
After it passed a law forcing cigarette companies to introduce plain packaging on all boxes the country's health minister Marisol Touraine has now said smoking in playgrounds will be banned from July.
The government will publish a decree at the end of June and the ban will become effective immediately, so in time for the summer holidays, when the playgrounds will be packed with children.
“The commonsense measure is a way of respecting our children,” said Touraine.
A ban on smoking has already been trialed in three Paris playgrounds. From Monday the government will also launch a campaign urging smokers to “take of advantage of summer to give up”.
Those interested can call the phone number 39 89 to seek help about giving up.
The ban on lighting up in playgrounds and the obligatory plain packaging are just two measures the government will introduce in their anti-smoking crackdown.
People will also be barred from smoking in their cars while children are present and the government has also barred users of electronic cigarettes from smoking them in certain public places.
Touraine says the measures have wide support among the public.
The move comes as a new study reveals that the French, although far from being the worst in Europe, are still fond of the odd cigarette.
A Eurobarometer study showed on Friday that while smoking rates dropped across the EU from 28 percent to 26 percent they actually rose in France from 28 to 32 percent.