According to the BBC news website, France is going to outlaw smoking in cafés, bars, hotels and casinos as of January 2.
I can’t believe it! One of the last places in the universe where you can feel guilt free about lighting up. It’s the end of an era.
I remember when I was studying in France in the mid-90s and the government tried to put in place smoking and non-smoking sections. It was a total bust. The non-smoking section in most places was a single, small, broken table in the hallway next to the bathrooms.
But no smoking at ALL in public places? I remember thinking it wasn’t going to work in New York, but it ended up being a very nice change, acutally, and only a minor inconvenience on cold days. But those Frenchies aren’t nearly as compliant as we Americans are. Maybe there’ll be riots. Maybe there’ll be a grève!
Here’s the article in its entirety:
France is poised to extend its smoking ban to bars, cafes, restaurants and discos, but the measure will not be enforced fully until 2 January.
The health ministry said smokers would be allowed a 24-hour “grace” period for the New Year festivities.
The ban, which will also cover casinos and hotels, comes on top of a partial ban on smoking in public places that took effect in February.
Similar bans are already in place in Britain, Ireland, Italy and Spain.
The French health ministry said the wider ban, due to take effect on 1 January, would not be monitored strictly during the New Year festivities, in a gesture of “tolerance”.
Any smoker caught flouting the ban thereafter faces a 450-euro (£332; $662) fine, while those who turn a blind eye to smokers on their premises can be fined up to 750 euros.
France has about 13.5 million smokers among its population of 60.7 million.
In February smoking became outlawed in French airports, railway stations, hospitals, schools, shops and offices.
The new ban is seen as a big cultural shift for France, where smoky cafes have long been the haunts of famous artists and philosophers. The ban does not include pavement tables or open-air terraces.
In 2004, Ireland became the first European country to introduce a comprehensive smoking ban in all workplaces, including pubs and restaurants.