France's Smoking-Free New Year

Citizens throughout France welcomed in the New Year by enjoying their last cigars indoors.

The famed smoky cafés of Paris became no more on Wednesday, when the official countrywide ban went into effect. The new law virtually eliminates lighting up in all public places, including bars, restaurants, clubs and cafés. The only place smokers can still light up indoors is inside sealed-off areas equipped with government-approved air filtration systems. Private residences do not fall within the jurisdiction of the ban.

France led the European antismoking movement in 1991 when it became the first country to institute smoking sections in bars and restaurants. The countrywide smoking ban however, follows in the wake of similar actions taken around the continent in countries such as Britain, Italy, Ireland and Spain. Several states in Germany also introduced smoking bans after January 1.

In France, those lighting up indoors can now be fined $93 (63 euros) and proprietors could face twice that amount.

Click here to read more about France's countrywide smoking ban.

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