France to consider smoking ban in public places

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

STRASBOURG, France, Aug 1 (AFP) - A proposition aimed at stamping out smoking in public places across France is being prepared for parliamentary debate in November, the MP behind the move, Yves Bur, told AFP Monday.

STRASBOURG, France, Aug 1 (AFP) - A proposition aimed at stamping out smoking in public places across France is being prepared for parliamentary debate in November, the MP behind the move, Yves Bur, told AFP Monday.

The measure, if adopted, would see France join Ireland, Italy, Norway and Malta in banning cigarettes nationwide in cafes, bars, restaurants and other places where people gather.

It would represent a veritable revolution in a country where an estimated one-third of the population still lights up despite successive price hikes that make cigarettes sold in France among the most expensive in Europe.

Smoking is already prohibited in most forms of public transport and in office spaces. Up to now, though, those who need nicotine with their coffee or dessert have puffed on unperturbed, to the chagrin of non-smokers around them.

"The proposition is not yet formalised. We are in the stage of going over the idea with the main anti-smoking groups and in September I will start discussions with professional organisations," Bur said.

In October, he planned to meet Irish health authorities and business representatives to hear their experience and then, if all went to plan, the bill would be presented November 3, he said.

"The French are a lot more amenable to this sort of restriction than you might imagine," Bur said, though he admitted he was far from certain that his initiative would make it into law.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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