France curbs smoking in public

Ban on smoking inside schools and hospitals comes into effect.

    The European Commission has urged all countries to introduce a comprehensive smoking ban [AP] 

    "It's actually not a bad thing," said Corine Voinier, a Parisian taking a break with a cigarette outside her workplace, a printing shop. "It's an opportunity at least to cut down.


    "But it's not easy just the same."


    The French move follows bans by Ireland, Italy and Sweden.


    The European Commission has urged all countries in the 27-member EU to introduce comprehensive bans, but how quickly the ban cuts real smoking levels remains to be seen.


    France's affair with the cigarette is a long-standing one and its two main brands, Gauloises and Gitanes have gained a cultural status almost akin to baguettes and red wine that makes it hard to imagine a completely smoke-free France.


    Some cafe owners who fear the end of the morning ritual of coffee and a cigarette when the prohibition is extended to bars and restaurants next year have protested.


    Nathalie Geuhennec, Voiner's colleague, who said she had already bought a nicotine patch but forgotten to put it on, said: "In the beginning, everyone grumbles, but in the end, they wind up by accepting it."


    Smokers can be fined $88.50 and building management fined $175 for breaking the ban. There has been no sign of any widespread revolt.


    Miguel Balthasar, who works at the Hotel du Louvre in central Paris and who was having his first cigarette of the morning out on the pavement, said: "I don't see any problem."


    "Most of my colleagues don't smoke, so it's only fair on them. I guess I will end up smoking less because of this law, but I won't give up altogether. Why should I?"

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.