In a move to combat tobacco-related deaths, France is set to ban smoking on all beaches, in public parks, forests and areas surrounding schools.
The announcement comes as part of a comprehensive anti-tobacco plan presented by Health and Prevention Minister Aurélien Rousseau, who highlighted that tobacco products contribute to a staggering 75,000 avoidable deaths annually in the country, about 200 a day.France’s public health body reported nearly 12 million daily smokers in the country last year, with 32% of individuals aged 18 to 75 admitting to smoking and 25% smoking daily. The move is a part of a broader government initiative to create a “tobacco-free generation by 2032”, with the aim of reducing the prevalence of smoking in the population.
What we want with this plan is to stop trivializing smoking. The fun, leisure aspect of smoking has to go.Aurélien Rousseau, Health and Prevention Minister of France
Acknowledging the success of the existing 7,200 tobacco-free zones in France, such as the cigarette-free beaches in Saint-Laurent-du-Var on the Côte d’Azur, Saint-Malo, Biarritz and, the first one, Nice, in the French Riviera, established in 2012, the government aims to replicate these measures on a national scale. “Beaches, parks, around schools – lots of places had started these experiments and now, it’s true, we’re heading to a general rule to show our determination”, the Minister stated.
With concerns about the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter on beaches, the initiative also aligns with broader efforts to address environmental issues.
Rousseau outlined the scope of the ban during a press conference, revealing that fines for smoking in restricted areas could be implemented as early as next year. To further discourage smoking, legislators plan to also forbid single-use disposable e-cigarettes, with an initial vote on the draft law expected in the National Assembly next month. Additionally, there will be a gradual increase in cigarette prices, with a 20-packet that is currently €11 projected to cost €12 in 2025 and €13 by 2027.