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Smoke-free terraces this summer

Government initiative to allow restaurant and café users to find clean-air zones

France’s Health Minister Marisol Touraine is challenging restaurant and café owners to offer tobacco-free terraces this summer.

They are being invited to sign up to a charter that commits them to creating a smoke-free outdoor space for customers. In return, their establishment will be featured free of charge on the Ma Terrasse Sans Tabac website and mobile app, which lists places where coffee drinkers and diners can enjoy clean air.

This "unprecedented arrangement, in which the representatives of the hospitality, catering and drinking establishments have been closely involved, must enable people to identify the terraces which offer spaces totally or partially free from smoke," the ministry said in a statement.

The site and app are free to users, who need to register to find tobacco-free terraces. They can also let the site know of other businesses that have made the effort to develop their outdoor spaces to cater for non-smokers.

Eight out of 10 French people say they are bothered by tobacco smoke, which makes the Health Ministry’s slogan on the campaign so apt: "Even on the terrace, the smoke remains hard to swallow."

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Two grades are given to the places that sign the charter. "Sympa" refers to cafes and bistros that offer two separate spaces where non-smokers do not have to go through a smoky area first. And "Top" is for restaurateurs and others who have built a terrace in the open air with no smoking allowed.

The idea is to roll out the campaign across the country, so flyers and leaflets are being distributed in 330 places in Paris and 245 in large cities (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Nantes, Strasbourg).

Planned as part of the National Tobacco Reduction Programme 2014-2019, it is aimed to help former smokers and those who want to stop smoking.

The application is available on the App Store and Google Play from today.

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