Smoking in France

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Smoking in France was first restricted on public transport by the 1976 Veil law. Further restrictions were established in the 1991 Évin law,[1] which contains a variety of measures against alcoholism and tobacco consumption. A much stronger smoking ban was introduced on 1 February 2007. Smoking in enclosed public places such as offices, schools, government buildings and restaurants is strictly prohibited. Law officials may enforce the laws with minimum fines set at 500 euros.[2]


The Veil law is named after Simone Veil, the French activist health minister, who took an initiative to fight against tobacco smoking in France in 1976.[3] Veil banned advertising for tobacco or tobacco products and required tobacco companies to print severe warnings on their cigarette packages, such as "Abus Dangereux – [Overuse is Hazardous]." Another significant aspect of the Veil Law was to place limitations on smoking places affectés à un usage collectif (open to the public).

The Évin law is named after Claude Évin, the minister who pushed for it. The law leaves certain important criteria on what is allowed or not with respect to smoking sections to executive-issued regulations, and it is those regulations that were altered in 2007.

A legal challenge against the new regulations was filed before the Conseil d'État in 2007, but was rejected.[4] Under the initial implementation rules of the 1991 Évin law, restaurants, cafés etc. just had to provide smoking and non-smoking sections, which in practice were often not well separated. In larger establishments, smoking and non-smoking sections could be separate rooms, but often they were just areas within the same room.

Current status[edit]

Although enforcement is lacking, smoking is now technically banned in all public places (stations, museums, etc.); no exceptions exist for special smoking rooms fulfilling strict conditions. However, a special exemption was made for cafés and restaurants, clubs, casinos, bars, etc. until 1 January 2008,[5] although the French government allowed a day of suspension of the law on New Year's Day.[6] Opinion polls suggest approximately 70% of people support the ban.[7]

In May 2013 Marisol Touraine, France's Health Minister, announced that the ban on smoking in public places would also be extended to electronic cigarettes as they could encourage "mimicking" behavior, potentially leading persons into smoking actual cigarettes.[8][9]

In October 2015 a fine of €68 came into force for discarding used cigarettes in a public space; at that time 28% of people in France were regular smokers.[10]

In May 2016 it was proposed that pregnant women could be paid up to €300 to stop smoking. Marisol Touraine said France was "the European country where pregnant women smoke the most”.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Law n°91-32 of 10 January 1991
  2. ^ Crumley, Bruce (Dec 26, 2009). "Smoking Ban? The French Light Up Again in Public". TIME. 
  3. ^ "Veil law - First Restrictions on Public Smoking in France". Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  4. ^ Ruling of 19 March 2007 of the Conseil d'État (copy on Légifrance)
  5. ^ Decree n°2006-1386 of 15 November 2006 taken as application of article L3511-7 of the Public Health Code, banning smoking in public places.
  6. ^ "French cafes set to ban smoking". BBC News. 28 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  7. ^ "France to ban smoking in public". BBC News. 8 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-09. 
  8. ^ "France to ban electronic cigarettes in public". Reuters. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Sirkin, Phil. "France extends smoking bans to E-cigs". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  10. ^ BBC Paris tightens fine for smokers dropping cigarette butts 1 October 2015
  11. ^ "Pregnant French women could be paid €300 to stop smoking". Independent. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.