No Smoking in Paris

Napoleon Caricature
A Caricature of Napoleon smoking

Smoking in Paris is commonly accepted by the public but limited to definite areas within the city. In Hotels, there are specific portions where you are allowed to smoke but they must obey to the mandatory ventilation standards. Usually, public zones such as breakfast room, reception and corridors are smoke-free zones. As a universal rule, all youth boarding houses and apartments are strictly non-smoking areas.

Restaurants are obliged to provide smoking and no-smoking areas. As you dine in, you will be asked where you prefer to be seated. Clubs and cafes are the places where this law may not be that strict, people just observe mutual respect in this kind of places.

Like any other places, shops, cinemas, theatres, public services and hospital vicinities are strictly no-smoking ruled by the law in Paris. Smoking is against the law in schools and universities and the rest of the educational institutions including the open spaces.

In the public transport, smoking in Paris is prohibited in accordance to the French law.  In an office setting, some companies provide special smoking areas for their employees, but more and more offices have absolutely prohibited smoking in their corporation. Just like in the business district of La Defense, many high-rise blocks are entirely cigarette-free.

When the French government announced they would ban smoking last 2007 from all public places in France, including cafes and restaurants, many people considered it as another futile attempt to change a fundamentally cigarette-happy culture. Well, later on they recognize that they were erroneous. Since the ban took effect January 2nd, very few breaches have been noted in Paris, and the city’s once hazy cafes and restaurants are surprisingly breathable. Some are even lamenting the death of an iconic Parisian cafe scene, exemplified by existentialist French philosopher and playwright Jean Paul Sartre who rarely spotted without a cigarette.

The success of the No smoking in Paris Law is an example of how cultural stereotypes on the French are not as solid as some would have them be.

19 thoughts on “No Smoking in Paris”

  1. Being a non-smoker myself, it is always good news to hear about cities where smoking in public is banned. When a person smokes, he has more to loose than to gain. In fact, I think you can never gain anything from the habit of smoking. Those people who say that smoking helps them to relieve stress is a joke to me. I think it is more of a psychological need than a physical one. There are a lot more stress relieving activities than to go for smoking. Then again to some smoking is not just a habit, men most especially consider smoking as a stamp of “macho-ness”.

  2. Hearing about the no smoking law in Paris was a shock but at the same time good news for me. Paris has always been portrayed as a laidback city, whose culture seems to value the time to rest amidst a busy schedule. Parisians are portrayed as people who love drinking wine and smoking even in the afternoon. When I heard that the smoking ban passed, I was actually surprised. I was surprised that the people of Paris would allow such a ban considering it is part of their lifestyle.

  3. I live in a city where smoking in public areas is also banned. During the first few months that the law was implemented, citizens of our city adhered to it strictly. However after a few years, people seem to not mind anymore the fines that serve as punishment for not following the ban. Lack of strict implementation of the law is the reason why people are back into the habit of smoking in public places. I hope Paris officials are strictly implementing this.

  4. Unfortunately Micheal, Paris is also suffering the same. During the first few months, there were only a few breaches to the anti smoking law. However, as months passed Parisians are once again out in the open with smoking. Because the supposedly $200 fine was not strictly implemented, Parisians took this law lightly. I have even read that there are actually some people who just smoke inside their buildings to avoid getting caught for smoking in public places. And this is bad news since this can give rise to the increase in second hand smoking incidences.

  5. I have always wanted to visit the beautiful city of Paris, hopefully by the time I visit this city there will be a more strict observance of this law. It is much more pleasant to go around the city without having to worry about being a second hand smoker.

  6. Smoking Ban is very hard to implement in a city especially when people there are used to smoke everyday. Smoking in Paris is currently illegal especially in public areas such as restaurants, bars, theatres and community transportation. But it is acceptable outside and on café verandas. There are various hotels that provide bedrooms exclusively for smokers. In making reservations, include this so you would not have a hard time finding a place to smoke. You don’t want to have yourself fined because of smoking in a non-smoking room.

  7. People should also take into consideration that the Smoking Ban is also for them. It is also for their own good. If you weigh the situation, it brings more disadvantages than advantages to your health. Parisians should discipline themselves in order to maintain the Smoking Ban in Paris.

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