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French minister wants tobacco-free parks, beaches

AFP

Smoking could be banned from certain public areas in French towns and cities, including parks, beaches and near schools, France’s Health Minister Marisol Touraine said in an interview with French weekly Journal du Dimanche on Sunday.

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Smoking could soon be outlawed in certain outdoor public areas in France, the French Health Minister Marisol Touraine revealed Sunday.

In an interview with France's Journal du Dimanche, Touraine called for a number of new anti-smoking measures to be implemented as part of a “general mobilisation against tobacco”.

The minister said she wanted to see the creation of smoke-free spaces in towns and cities, which could include “parks, university campuses, beaches [and] in front of schools”.

“Is it normal for mothers, fathers or nannies to smoke in a public park where children play? I don't think so,” said Touraine.

Plans are also in motion to place warnings about the dangers of smoking for pregnant women on tobacco packaging, the minister revealed.

“We need to implement policies to transform the relationship with tobacco,” added Touraine.

France, where smoking kills some 73,000 people a year, has introduced a number of measures designed to curtail tobacco use in the country in recent years. These include tax hikes on cigarettes and a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces that came into force in 2007.

However, figures show that smoking has actually increased in France since the ban was introduced, with a growing number of young people taking up the habit.

Meanwhile, Touraine revealed in May this year that the French government is to ban the smoking of electronic cigarettes in indoor public places over concerns they could act as a gateway to smoking tobacco, particularly among young people.

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