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France bans smoking in public -

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France bans smoking in public

AM - Friday, 2 February , 2007 08:29:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

TONY EASTLEY: It's been an enduring love affair between French smokers and their cigarettes, but it
looks like having run its course.

Overnight, the first stage of a ban on smoking in public spaces came into effect.

Smokers can still light up in cafes and restaurants for the time being, but its au revoir to that
relationship too by the end of the year.

Stephanie Kennedy filed this report.

(sound of accordion)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: In the cafes on the left bank of Paris, for centuries a smoky haze has filled
the air as writers, artists and actors gathered to pass the time.

But that centuries-old tradition is about to change.

Smoking is now banned in workplaces, airports, schools, train stations and hospitals.

But the French Government has given smokers in cafes and restaurants a short reprieve.

Smokers will be able to puff away on their Gitanes and Gauloises until the end of this year.

Olivier Todd is a French writer.

OLIVIER TODD: Those who smoke enjoy cigarette after a meal like everybody else, after love making
and interdiction as far as public places are concerned will play neither one way or the other.

I've heard people talking about this problem, but there's not going to be a "May 68" about
cigarettes, that's for sure.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Les Deux Magots is one of Paris's most famous left bank cafes. It was a regular
haunt for Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway. Catherine Matiba (phonetic) is
the café's owner and she backs the ban.

CATHERINE MATIBA: For the employers it's a good position because they are always in a smoky
environment and it's quite difficult for them.

A lot of writers have come to Les Deux Magots. They use to take coffee or alcohol while they were
smoking, yes, but I think that things have changed nowadays. The writers of today, well they are
not so addicted.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: 70 per cent of the French people support the new law.

VOX POP: People have started accepting the fact that it is not the thing to do. They have seen so
many of their friends going with lung cancer that they know that it means something.

VOX POP 2 (translated): They can still smoke outside and for the majority of people who don't smoke
and who are really bothered by cigarette smoke, not to mention for health reasons, it's much
better.

VOX POP 3: I think it's a good thing, because too many people, especially young people smoke and
it's better for everyone I think.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: But not everyone agrees.

VOX POP 4: I believe it's also a right to smoke in a public place because this is supposed to be a
pleasure place where you get a coffee, where you can relax. I believe that they should accept the
fact that people do smoke and then create smoking restaurants, smoking bars and non-smoking
restaurants, non-smoking bars. That would be fair.

(sound of accordion)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: And for those who want to quit, the French Government is at hand to help

It's offering $80 per person to buy stop-smoking aids.

This is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for AM.

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