De Franse minister van volksgezondheid, Xavier Bertrand, heeft gisteren aangekondigd een nieuwe poging te willen doen om de Fransen van het roken af te brengen. Daartoe wil hij een algemeen rookverbod invoeren op alle openbare plaatsen. Alleen casino's, discotheken en 'bar-tabacs' (café's met een vergunning om tabak te verkopen) zijn uitgezonderd van de maatregel. De wet, die per decreet zal worden afgekondigd en dus niet in het Franse parlement behandeld, zou moeten ingaan op 1 januari volgend jaar.
In November vorig jaar werd eenzelfde soort voorstel, ingediend door een lid van het Franse parlement, getorpedeerd. Als democratische middelen niet meer lukken kan men in dit land van liberté, fraternité en égalité de volksvertegenwoordiging blijkbaar gewoon uitschakelen. Pardon moi?!
The ban would therefore be somewhat less draconian than the law which comes into effect in England next summer, banning smoking in all pubs, clubs and restaurants.
France has been slow to follow the restrictions on smoking in enclosed public places imposed by several European countries. Under existing French law, restaurants and cafés are supposed to restrict smokers to designated areas. In practice, the area set aside tends to be most of the restaurant and sometimes all of it.
In an interview with the newspaper, Le Figaro, M. Bertrand said that 66,000 people died in France each year from smoking-related illnesses. Of these, 5,000 were passive smokers.
A ban on smoking in public places would "make people see sense and change attitudes, just as we have achieved with road safety," he said. Road deaths in France have plummetted since the government began to enforce speed restrictions and other motoring laws rigorously four years ago.
After falling or remaining broadly static for three years, sales of cigarettes have increased sharply in France this year. Researchers have reported an increase in smoking among the young, especially young women.
M. Bertrand said that, to avoid political manoeuvres in the run-up to next spring's presidential elections, he would try to push through the smoking ban by edict. The Health Minister has, however, partially bowed to pressure from tobacconists by promising to exempt bar-tabacs, casinos and discos.
The news was greeted with resignation by restaurateurs and tobacco sellers and anger by some bar-owners and anti-tobacco campaigners. The anti-smoking lobby in France complained that it made no sense to ban cigarettes in some bars and not others. Gérard Audureau, president of the "non-smokers' association", said that it made even less sense to exempt discotheques, which were mostly used by young people.
The Independent (nog niet in Nederlandse krant gevonden)