Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Smoking in France? Non plus, mesdames et monsieurs ....



Just a few days ago while on a trip, an otherwise lovely individual clothed me in drapes of cigarette smoke. I tried quite hard to keep a straight, or rather, poker face. One needs, after all, to be kind. Smoking, like most habitual activities, is, I imagine, a difficult thing to kick. Patience is needed. And smokers who are trying to quit appreciate that kind of support, I find.

Today, the NY Times informed me that France, this 'haven of cigarette smokers' as I jokingly and habitually refer to it to a good friend of mine who is also a native of Paris, is officially saying, 'c'est tout!' to public cigarette smoking.

The country has, as of yesterday, banned smoking in public places. The ban took effect on Tuesday so that the smokers would have another chance to celebrate New Year's uninhibited by unsatisfied urges.

Per the Times feature today:

About 12 million French people — about 20 percent of the population — are smokers,
according to official figures, and more than 70,000 people die in France every year from
smoking-related illnesses and secondhand smoke.

The decree coincides with a broad Europe-wide nonsmoking movement that began four years
ago when Ireland banned smoking in public places. But here, there are fierce pockets of
resistance. Opponents say the ban signals the erosion of French liberté. They say it is
undemocratic because it was not passed through Parliament but imposed by government
decree.

As a non-smoker, my reaction to this news will obviously be of a different nature from, say, the 20% of the French population who happen to be smokers. However, since we all have to share a finite amount of space and, most importantly, since we don't have the luxury of living an infinite number of days, it is, perhaps, a noble pursuit to have a genuine interest in keeping healthy.

Excellent Times bit. Read more here.


graph per ny times

3 comments:

Nicki said...

....ban takes effect on tuesday due to New Year's.... this was the best bit! i have always wondered about how many of them smoke and i doubt that the ban will have a real impact on the high numbers of smokers....

Eric said...

Not 'désolé' at all to read about this. Boy, there is a lot of cigarette smoke there.

Anonymous said...

Paris will never be the same...