According to the news outlet, the country previously announced in September that it would ban disposable e-cigarettes, which pose health risks as well as environmental concerns, as the Guardian noted. A gradual price increase on cigarettes will also go into effect.
The new regulations are a win for public health. Smoking cigarettes can lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic pulmonary disease, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. France sees about 75,000 tobacco-related deaths annually, according to CNN.
These bans are also a huge win for the environment. The flicking of cigarette butts can easily lead to fires in dry conditions. Before the smoking ban in forests kicked in, nine in 10 forest fires in France could be attributed to human activity.
Additionally, discarded cigarettes are a danger to the environment. In fact, cigarette butts are the most abundant form of plastic waste — about 4.5 trillion of them pollute the globe, according to Earthday.org. Per this source, cigarette filters can take 10 years to completely break down, and the chemicals they release — toxins like arsenic, lead, and nicotine — can remain in nature for years.
In Spain, where millions of cigarette butts are discarded each year, the government is now requiring tobacco companies to clean up the waste. The estimated annual cost of the cleanup is one billion euros annually (about $1.1 billion, as of January).
France isn’t the first country to enforce stronger smoking regulations. In December 2022, New Zealand passed a law that bars anyone born after 2008 from buying tobacco products. The goal is to reduce the number of people buying tobacco each year.
Not everyone is happy with France’s new smoking rules.
“Lots will applaud. Not me,” Cannes Mayor David Lisnard said via X, formerly known as Twitter, as reported by the Guardian. He argued that there were already enough restrictions on freedoms.
However, French health minister Aurélien Rousseau told CNN affiliate BFMTV, “What we want with this plan is to stop trivializing smoking.”
He added: “The fun, leisure aspect of smoking has to go. Two hundred preventable tobacco-related deaths per day … is a number we should not get used to.”
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