No smoking : Are the tides turning about smoking in France?

I’m a non-smoker and always have been.

I’ve lived with smokers, I have family members who smoke, I have friends who smoke.  I don’t begrudge anyone’s choice to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes.

What I DON’T like is when smokers think its their right to throw their cigarette butts everywhere, blow smoke into my children’s face while standing next to them in public, or parents who smoke at playgrounds (from July 2015, smoking was forbidden at children’s playgrounds however I’ve seen many parents turn a blind eye and never seen anyone enforce this law).   You choose to smoke, my kids don’t.


Smoking in France

Buying a packet of cigarettes is not as easy as other countries – they’re not sold at supermarkets, service stations, corner stores or vending machines.  You can only buy cigarettes from a tabac (or sometimes over the counter at a bar for an inflated price).

Yet, the difficulty at finding cigarettes has not stopped smokers. Smoking is deeply ingrained in life in France – I see teachers stand outside schools smoking alongside teen students, the queues for tabacs on a weekend prove there’s demand and smokers include all ages, nationalities and socio-economic groups.

No smoking indoors in public places

France has come a long way where decades ago smoking (as in other nations) was perfectly accepted on airplanes, trains, in offices and restaurants.


French laws:

  • The TGV trains were designated smoke free over 10 years ago.
  • In 2007, a law denouncing smoking indoors at public areas including hospitals, schools, shopping centres, airports and offices was brought in.
  • The following year on January 1st 2008, indoor smoking was banned at casinos, cafeterias, restaurants and bars and I was surprised at minimal outcry from smokers.  However, many French bars outsmart the indoor smoking policy by erecting semi-enclosed plastic awnings (effectively they are ‘smokers rooms’ with the minimum requirement for ventilation).  Smoking is still permitted on the sidewalk tables at restaurants.
  • Smoking at children’s playgrounds was banned in July 2015.

The emergence of e-cigarettes has also opened debate. While they have no nicotine vapour, safety tests are still being conducted on the chemicals and effects on health.

No smoking initiative for Antibes & Juan les Pins

After public feedback, Antibes and Juan les Pins is supporting La Ligue contre le Cancer (the League against Cancer) and will be introducing ‘espaces sans tabac’ with smoking bans to be put in place in certain places.

Their aim is to reduce young people taking up smoking, eliminate passive smoking particularly for infants and children in public gardens and preserve the environment from cigarette butts and fire hazards.

Plage Richelieu, Juan les Pins (non smoking beach on the French Riviera)

Plage Richelieu, Juan les Pins (non smoking beach on the French Riviera)

The areas concerned will be:

  • Municipal beaches Richelieu and plage Garoupe
  • Public gardens (Jardin Pauline, Exflora, Parc Rabiac-Estagnol, Pinede)
  • High risk sites for fire hazard (Villa Eilenroc and gardens, Pinedes in Juan les Pins, and the Cap d’Antibes coastal pathway).

To avoid cigarette butt litter, there will be installation of disposal units at each site with information posters.  Apparently, smokers caught in these zones will be fined 38€ though who exactly will enforce this I don’t know and if the success of dog poo fines is anything to go by then I won’t hold my breath on this.

Other no smoking beaches in the Alpes-Maritimes

  • Îles de Porquerolles – light up here and you’ll be fined €200
  • Plage du Rocher at Cannes La Bocca and Bijou Plage in Cannes have banned cigarettes
  • In Nice, during summer, the beach opposite Centre universitaire méditerranéen (CUM) as well as Centenaire, Bains militaires, Sainte-Hèlene and Lenval are all smoke free
  • Plage du Fossan in Menton

3 thoughts on “No smoking : Are the tides turning about smoking in France?

  1. I don’t smoke too, and I prefer to be in a cafe /restaurant smoke-free:) I don’t like when people smoke next to me on the beach either.


  2. It’s great to hear about these anti-smoking measures! Cigarette smoke makes me really sick, and it’s everywhere – my least favorite thing about living in France!


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