PLAIN cigarette packaging and a ban on using e-cigarettes in public are among the tough new anti-smoking measures that health minister Marisol Touraine is set to unveil next month.
She also plans to allow groups of smokers to launch ‘class action’-style lawsuits against the tobacco industry, Le Figaro has reported.
The hard-line policy is the latest move in the French government’s efforts to reduce the number of deaths related to smoking, following the so-called Evin Law which banned cigarette advertising in 1991, and ordered bars, cafes and restaurants to offer smoke-free areas.
The decree that banned smoking in public places followed in 2007.
Despite the increased taxes, health warnings, and smoking bans, however, an estimated 16 million French people still regularly light up, and about 73,000 tobacco-related deaths are reported in France every year.
The planned crackdown does not include a ban on cigarette advertising and marketing outside tabacs.
Plain packaging was adopted in Australia in 2012, following a long legal battle with the cigarette industry there. The law is being challenged by cigar-producing nations Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Honduras at the World Trade Organisation.
A panel of independent legal experts will rule on the challenge - which claims that brandless packaging is an assault on trading rights - in about six months.
About 10 million French people have tried e-cigarettes, according to a December 2013 poll led by Ipsos.