France and Smoking

The primary thing I didn’t enjoy about France when we visited two years ago was the smoking. It didn’t help that the Euro exchange rate was so awful, but it was really the smoking — EVERYWHERE — that caused me the most trouble.

Well, good news! According to this MSNBC article, smoking in public spaces (examples given: workplaces, schools, airports, hospitals, and other “closed and covered” places) around France will be banned starting today!

It’s amazing to me that prior to today you could still (at least potentially) smoke in places like schools and hospitals. I remember back to when you could still smoke in schools and hospitals in the US, and this goes back probably almost 15-20 years since this was disallowed… it just seems so long ago and distant. It’s almost unthinkable today that you’d be able to smoke at your desk at work, or bedside at the hospital, etc.

Even better for France is that in one year, the smoking ban will extend to cafes and restaurants. Now THAT’s talking!! I didn’t spend much time bothered by incessant smoking at French schools or hospitals on our trip, but I definitely came back to the hotel room each night with a scratchy throat and smelling like smoke from the cafes and restaurants. In fact, it was the smoking (and lack of even a non-smoking section) at every restaurant and cafe we tried to eat at that caused me pause about ever going back.

Setting the clock — only one more year until my ban on visiting France again can be lifted.

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