The European country thats surprisingly decided to ban smoking on all beaches

A European country famous for its high number of smokers has shared a surprising new plan to turn around the trend.

France’s Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau unveiled his anti-smoking plan on Wednesday, aimed at fulfilling President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to create “the first tobacco-free generation” by 2032. 

The plan, which aims particularly at preventing young people from taking up smoking, sees an expansion of no-smoking areas to be enforced at a national level.

Among the places where smoking will no longer be allowed when this plan is enforced are beaches, public parks, forests and areas near schools.

Mr Rousseau said: “From now on, no-smoking areas will be the norm.” 

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Thousands of smoke-free areas already exist in France, but are established by local authorities rather than being the result of nationwide bans.

The health minister said: “We are now shifting the responsibility and establishing a principle which will become the rule.”

Mr Rousseau argued in favour of his plan by noting that smoking habit claims the lives of an average of 75,000 people in France every year. 

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Alongside the nationwide bans, the health minister’s plan also includes gradually raising the price of tobacco.

A packet of 20 cigarettes currently costing €11 (£9.50) will be sold at €12 (£10.39) by 2025 and €13 (£11.25) by 2026.

Increasing the cost of tobacco is the “most effective measure against smoking, according to the World Health Organisation and all the independent studies on the subject”, said Mr Rousseau during his press conference on the plan.

Another measure included in the plan targeting in particular young people is a total ban on the wasteful disposable single-use e-cigarettes which are particularly popular among the youngest smokers. 

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Finally, the anti-smoking plan intends to continue the work of recent years to make tobacco less attractive by introducing plain packs for all tobacco and vaping products.

The various players in the tobacco economy, particularly tobacconists, will be supported “in the necessary transition to transform their profession”, the minister pledged.

France has one of the highest smoking prevalence rates in the Western world. In 2020, data from the health ministry of France suggested 25.5 percent of citizens were daily smokers, while 6.4 percent defined themselves occasional smokers. 

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