French actress Brigitte Bardot lights up a film set, but times have changed since the heedy and very smokey 1960s. Photo: AFP
Spotting a French teen with a cigarette hanging out their mouth might be a touch harder in the future, as France's Health Minister Marisol Touraine cracks down on “cool” cigarettes.
Essentially, she wants to introduce a law that would see cigarette brands banned if they “included elements contributing to the promotion of tobacco or give an erroneous impression of certain characteristics.”
This means that iconic French brands like Gitanes and Gauloises could be banned, as well as ones like Marlboro Gold, Vogue, Lucky Strike, and Fortuna, reported Le Figaro newspaper.
The paper noted that the directive was “somewhat vague”, but added that any cigarette brand suggesting “masulinity or feminitity, slimness, youth, or sociability” could be affected.
Four main cigarette companies – Seita, Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and JTI – have contacted France's prime minister seeking clarity on the potential new law, calling for an urgent meeting to clarify the details.
The changes could well come in with a new health code article that is being published in just over a week.
And indeed, it would be a big change for France, a country where smoking has been considered cool in France ever since Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot graced TV screens, sporting sultry expressions and half-smoked Gauloises.