France - 
Article published the Wednesday 01 February 2012 - Latest update : Wednesday 01 February 2012

Smoking on the rise despite five years of France's public smoking ban

More French people smoke today than when smoking was banned in public places five years ago
GettyImages/Tim Bieber


France’s anti-smoking laws have failed to reduce the number of smokers and are often ignored but they have reduced the risk of cancer for barmen and waiters, officials announced on the fifth anniversary of the introduction of a ban on smoking in public places.

Smoking was banned in French workplaces, schools, hospitals and stations on 1 February and in bars, restaurants, casinos and discotheques 11 months later.

But it has not persuaded people to stop smoking, figures released Tuesday showed.

The proportion of 18-75-year-olds who are regular smokers has risen two points to 30 per cent since 2005. That is mainly because more women are smoking – 28.7 per cent smoked every day in 2010, compared to 26.9 per cent in 2005.

"The biggest problem with the French prohibition is the lack of control,” Maria Cardenas of France's Non-Smokers' Rights told RFI.

Two-thirds of people polled said that they had been exposed to smoking in a place where it was supposedly banned over the last six months and a third said they had come across it at work.

Smoking bans have been more effective elsewhere in Europe because it was more strictly enforced, says Cardenas. “For example, in Ireland, the ban was followed by more than 25,000 inspections in the first year. And in France, there were only 600 inspections. So there is a big difference in the political application of the smoking ban.”

But the ban has changed attitudes, she claims.

“Now, most people accept that it's not normal to be exposed to second-hand smoke in public places, and that's the most important."

There has also been a “considerable benefit” for the health of barmen and waiting staff, Bertrand Dautzenberg of the state’s tobacco control body says.

Officials are pushing for the strict enforcement of a cigarette packet with nothing visually attractive in its design to push down sales.

tags: Cancer - France - Health - Medicine - Restaurant - Smoking - Tobacco - Tourism
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Comments (6)

Smoking increase in women

think if the French were to run a series of TV adverts highlighting the dangers of smoking in women and in addition to this include adverts showing the dangers of children being passive smokers around their parents, this should have a significant effect on intelligent people to quit!

Life with less stress

Maybe the mean to reduce tobacco consumption is not as simple as an increasing of price sales or a ban on smoking in public places... I don't think either that electronic cigarettes will be a solution. Maybe a life with less stress will help.


A certain number of people are always going to smoke as long as cigarettes are legal tobacco products. Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular and accepted to avoid tobacco and odor, so see for more.

Smoking BS

I am a 76 year old man, in excellent health, with clear lungs and a lung capacity greater than 4500 militers. I have been smoking about a pack of unfiltered cigarettes per day since I was 14 years old. Not only that I completely enjoy smoking, but smoking is a great way to reduce stress.

Too, smoking tobacco is a good preventive of Parkinson's disease, and as the numbers of smokers decline, the numbers of people with Parkinson's disease are rising quite rapidly.

Very interesting comment. But

Very interesting comment. But remember, you are only 1 person. If you look at the smoking health facts, you can't deny the fact that smoking kills 443,000 people per year. It is also the known cause for several types of cancer and many other negative health effects. source:

quit smoking side effects

One issue you should be careful of throughout your technique of becoming smoke-free is that this will NOT be an easy job, UNLESS you paint it out as an easy one. The explanation is simple: in as little as 3 to 5 days you will kick the physical addiction, leaving you with just the psychological one. And how you look at changing into smoke free will make the contrast in beating this one: if you look at it as giving something up, and a tricky process, then that’s what it will be. If, on the other hand, you see it as a resolution, as getting rid of something bad, it will be much, much easier. Either way, keep in mind the quit smoking side effects we talked about above, and make sure you think about dealing with them before you come to face them.

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