Will park and beach bans lead to France stubbing out its smoking habit?

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Will park and beach bans lead to France stubbing out its smoking habit?
One million French smokers quit in 2017. Photo: AFP

Smokers in Paris are facing further restrictions on lighting up, as 10 percent of the city's green spaces are set to go smoke free, and there are also bans on several of the country's beaches coming in to force in June.


Like the majority of European countries, smoking in enclosed public spaces is illegal in France.

However the country has defined the ban less strictly than many other places, so that smoking on café terraces is still legal.

Now the Paris mayor's office has decided that 52 of the capital's green spaces will be going smoke free. For the full list of parks, click here.


Serge Gainsbourg in his favoured pose with a cigarette. Photo: AFP

It follows a trial last year and will mean that around one in 10 of Paris' green spaces, mostly the smaller ones, will be smoke free. The changes come in from Saturday, June 8th, and anyone flouting the ban risks a €38 fine.

Paris is following Strasbourg which in June 2018 banned smoking in all of the city's parks.

Smoking in children's open-air playgrounds has been illegal across France since 2015.

The move in Paris comes as La Rochelle has announced that smoking will be banned on two of the city's biggest beaches.

The plage des Minimes, and the plage de la Concurence will be smoke free until October, reported France Bleu.

Marseilles has also introduced a smoking ban on the beach.

France has long had a reputation as the 'smokiest' country in Europe, reinforced by French icons such as Johnny Hallyday and Serge Gainsbourg, who were rarely pictured without a cigarette in hand.

But the date doesn't really back up that stereotype, and about 28 percent of French people now smoke, broadly in line with the European average.

In 2017 alone, one million French people reported gave up smoking.

And although the popular image of Paris is generally seen through a haze of Gauloise smoke, in fact Parisiens smoke less than the rest of France – just 21 percent of people in Paris, compared to 32 in the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur region.

And the rapidly falling rates of smokers are probably linked to successive pieces of legislation.

In 2006 it was make illegal to smoke in an enclosed space in a public building, one year before the same thing was banned in England and Wales.

Smoking in children's playgrounds is banned, and it is also illegal to smoke in a car if you have a passenger under the age of 12.

The packaging of tobacco products must carry large health warnings and the government is gradually increasing the price of a packet of cigarettes so that it will hit €10 for a pack of 20 by 2020, which it hopes will deter people from smoking.

However, although there are many bans in place they are not always strictly enforced, as anyone who has recently stood on a French train platform or on the terraces at a match will realise.

In Paris, City Hall says it will begin with an awareness campaign of the new rules in parks, before moving on to handing out fines to those who do not comply.

French vocab

(le) tabagisme: nicotine dependency  

accro (à [qch]) [slang]: hooked (on something)

dévoiler: reveal

le revenu: income 

s'allumer une clope: light a ciggy/fag 

Nuisible à la santé: Bad for one's health

un gros fumeur: heavy smoker


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Anonymous 2019/05/31 16:42
........certainly not ideal to sit around but it happened whenever we sat on a terrace to eat and enjoy drinks around the city last lady would take a puff and then a bite of her food and va ca va !

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