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France to ban e-cigarettes in public

media Up in smoke - an e-cigarette user Getty Images / Martina Paraninfi

France is to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public, Health Minister Marisol Touraine announced on Friday, the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day. Over 500,000 people use e-cigarettes in France today.

E-cigarettes, which were invented in China in 2005, are France’s latest fad, as smokers try to wean themselves off the weed.

But a report commissioned by Touraine earlier this month raised some worries about its use, especially by adolescents.

Nearly seven out of 10 teenagers have used an e-cigarette even though they had never smoked before, it found, raising the possibility that the device could be gateway to smoking rather than an exit.

Touraine has taken up the experts’ recommendation that its use should be banned in public and will apply all restrictions on smoking to the e-cigarette, including forbidding its sale to minors.

  • The number of smokers in France, which went down when anti-smoking measures were first introduced, has risen again from 25 per cent of the population in 2005 to 29.1 per cent – 13.4 million people - today.
  • Tobacco-related illnesses are the country’s biggest cause of avoidable death, killing 73,000 people a year.
  • France has the highest number of pregnant women who smoke.

Touraine announced help to young people in stopping smoking and new bans on smoking in public, for example in playgrounds.

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