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More spot checks on smoking cafes

Préfectures ordered to visit more bars and restaurants and report back on how well smoking ban is being applied

BARS, restaurants and tobacconists are to be subject to increased spot checks under new reinforced anti-smoking measures in France.

A goverment circular has been sent to all préfectures this week, amid concerns that many public places are still ignoring the law on smoking inside.

Préfets have been asked to carry out more visits, and will also perform more checks on tabacs to ensure they are not selling cigarettes to under-18s.

Each préfet has until the end of September to send a report back to the government outlining how well the anti-smoking laws are being applied in their department.

The Ligue Contre le Cancer welcomed the reinforced controls, saying in a statement that it hoped they would be "applied rigorously and without delay".

The group says more can be done, including the introduction of generic, plain packaging and further price rises.

The head of the French tobaconnists' federation, Pascal Montredon, said he was disappointed that the industry was being targeted while not enough was being done to stop contraband cigarettes entering the country.

Smoking in enclosed public places has been banned in France since January 2008.

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