Minister urges e-cigarette ban in public places
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France’s health minister on Friday urged a ban on electronic cigarettes in public places, echoing calls earlier this week to treat the devices like normal cigarettes. The plans would also see under-16s banned from buying the product.
French Health Minister Marisol Touraine has called for electronic cigarettes to be banned from public places and their sale to be restricted to over-16s only.
In an interview with French radio station France Info on Friday morning, Touraine urged that electronic cigarettes be treated in the same way as normal cigarettes.
“We want the same laws that apply to normal cigarettes to apply to electronic cigarettes,” she said, adding that advertisements for e-cigarettes should also be banned.
Unlike normal cigarettes, electronic devices are not currently banned in most public places, making them a practical alternative for smoking in bars, public transport hubs, and even aeroplanes.
The young and pregnant to be targeted
Since France banned smoking in public places in 2008, e-cigarette shops have popped up across the country – famous for its long romance with smoking – and the pen-sized instruments have grown increasingly popular among the smoking community, especially young bar-goers.
Touraine expressed her concern over the ongoing popularity of cigarette-smoking among young people in France, while in other western countries increasingly fewer young people take up the habit. She also warned of poor awareness levels among pregnant women in France, where more expectant women smoke than in any other European country.
“I want us to rally against smoking,” she said. “There are still too many young people and pregnant women smoking in France”. Touraine proposed placing a logo on tobacco products warning women of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy – something which exists already on alcoholic beverages.
She also suggested creating “smoke-free spaces” outdoors, such as children’s parks.
Touraine’s comments came as The World Health Organization celebrated the World No Tobacco Day.