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Archive for Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Parliamentary panel wants smoking ban

October 4, 2006

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— French lawmakers are trying to make France's smoky cafes a thing of the past.

A parliamentary panel called Tuesday for a government ban on smoking in enclosed public areas within a year - and floated the idea of "hermetically sealed" smoking rooms for those who want to light up.

Although just a recommendation that leaves government with the final say, a ban would send a shock through France's smoker-friendly culture where cigarettes have long been identified with cool, and where smoky bistros are still redoubts of Paris' intelligentsia.

Even the French presidency's Web site shows a photo of a young President Jacques Chirac in a James Dean-like pose with a cigarette in his mouth.

Health Minister Xavier Bertrand has said smoking-related illness kills 66,000 people every year in France. An estimated 5,000 of those deaths are attributed to secondhand smoke, he said.

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