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France

France's beaches and parks could become smoke-free

media Smoking could be banned in more outdoors spaces in France Flickr/CC

France's parks and beaches could become the next smoke-free zones. France's Health Minister Marisol Touraine says she wants to extend the country's smoking ban to more outdoor spaces, especially in places frequented by children.

“Is it normal for mothers, fathers or nannies to smoke in a public park where children play? I don't think so," Touraine said in the French weekly La Journal de Dimanche (JDD) on Sunday.

Decreasing smoke exposure for children could also mean banning smoking in front of schools, or inside cars - a move she is considering after Socialist Party Senator Yannick Vaugrenard suggested it as a way to shield young passengers from second-hand smoke.

Touraine, who earlier this year went after electronic cigarettes, would like to see more local authorities implement stricter bans on smoking, which is already probited in work places, cafes and restaurants in France.

Some localties are already starting to crack down on where people can light up.

Last year, a Riviera resort beach became the first stretch of French sand to ban smoking, sparking similar regulations along some coastal towns in Brittany and Normandy.

“I want towns and cities to move in this direction through discussions and create non-smoking spaces, whether parks, university campuses or beaches,” Touraine said.

However, not everyone is as buzzed about her latest campaign.

Mayor Yves Bur of Lingolsheim in eastern France, who also feels strongly about creating tobacco control policies, said the Minister's comments Sunday should not replace the urgency of creating a comprehensive policy aimed at helping people kick the habit, and deter young people from starting.

In France, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, according to The National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (Inpes).

Active smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancers and 73,000 premature deaths each year, including 59,000 men and 14,000 women.

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