Monday, September 25, 2006

French Favor Smoking Ban.

Think of the baguette, a glass of wine, a beret and a cigarette and right away, you may think of France. Mention famous French intellectuals of the past and you think of cigarettes – Sartre, Colette, George Sand, Marguerite Duras, [André] Gide, they all smoked. The thing is that this cliché used to be quite true but it is slightly coming to an end.

Well, to be fair, there are actually 12 countries in Europe that smoke more than the French - The Greeks, the Spaniards, and even the Germans smoke more than the French do. There about 34.5% of smokers in France and about 23.6% in the US.

The big difference is really about teenagers and as a teacher, I can definitely see it. Among American teenagers, the rate is 10%; in France, it is 50%. (source here)

But things are definitely changing.

In 1991, the French government passed a law requiring restaurants and bars to provide nonsmoking areas. That was a first step but in practice didn’t work too well. It sent a signal though and there has been a change in mentality

Recently, the national French rail service SNCF announced it would prohibit smoking on all trains starting next year. But more importantly public opinion is changing to the point that the French government is considering a ban in all public places – similar to what’s happened in Spain, Italy or Ireland.

A recent poll by Ifop shows that [here]:

77% of respondents support the proposal to ban smoking in restaurants

66% of respondents are in favor of a smoking ban in cafes, bars and brasseries,

61% support it in discotheques and night clubs.

It may take a while but it is bound to happen at some point. I am in favor of a total ban inside “public” places. Second-hand smoking really sucks. Besides, it seems the breeze always blows my way when people smoke next to me. It’s annoying.

However, there might be some power struggle with cigarette makers and those who sell it.

By the way, do you know what the best-selling cigarette in France is? It’s an Marlboro – an American brand (29.5% of the market). The famous French Gauloises brunes have 10.6% market share. ( source here)


At 17:55, Anonymous Abie said...

"it seems the breeze always blows my way when people smoke next to me"

A simple Murphy's Law corollary : any non-smoker in a smoking assembly with trigger lowering of the local atmospheric pressure. Hence, even in a closed room, smoke *always* drifts towards non-smokers...

Or at least it relly feels like it does...


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