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War declared on smoking

Tough new measures have been announced including – controversially – ones against e-cigarettes

25 September 2014

THE GOVERNMENT has “declared war on smoking” with a hard-hitting list of new measures.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine’s National Smoking Reduction Plan adds to the disturbing images that were placed on cigarette packs in 2011 by calling for all packs to be completely neutral, using standard type and without company logos.

It also:
• Bans smoking in cars if children under 12 are present
• Bans smoking in children’s play areas
• Launches a media campaign spelling out that one in two smokers dies from their habit
• Triples state reimbursement for anti-smoking products like nicotine patches for people aged up to 30, cancer patients and people entitled to the CMU-C.

There are also measures against the increasingly popular e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but not tobacco.

Advertising e-cigarettes will be banned from 2016 and people will not be able to smoke them in enclosed workplaces, public transport, or in venues used by children.

The plan, much of which will need to be debated by parliament, has been hailed by anti-smoking charities, including the Ligue Contre le Cancer, who said it was “exactly what we’ve been asking for” and Droit des Non-Fumeurs, who said they were “delighted” with it. The Alliance Contre le Tabac called it a “declaration of war against the industry of tobacco and death”.

The media campaign starts today, with two videos showing people mourning deaths of loved ones from smoking, ending with information on getting help to stop smoking via the phoneline 3989 or www.tabac-info-service.fr. The videos can be viewed at: Anti-Smoking campaign

National health information body INPES says that smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancers and 30% of cancer deaths overall.

However, bodies representing the e-cigarette sector hit out at the plans, with one group, Fivape, saying: “The measures go in the wrong direction and threaten the efforts of e-cigarette users and French businesses who want to move on from the epidemic of tobacco use.”

Another body, Aiduce, asked: “How can you explain that a product without tobacco, which doesn’t burn anything and has no harmful effects on people around you, should be subject to laws restricting its use?”.

Some commentators have pointed to a grey area in the law that may allow e-cigarettes to be used in restaurants and bars, a factor likely to be clarified during the parliamentary debate.

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