Smoke-Free France

Hazy Parisian bistros will be passé if a proposal by a French parliamentary panel to ban smoking in enclosed public areas becomes law. Really. France would join other once smoke-filled nations like Ireland and Britain that now forbid cigarettes indoors. France's Health Ministry says 66,000 people die each year from smoking--5,000 from secondhand smoke--but 20% of the population still lights up. The ban will probably be carried out by decree so that legislators won't have to take a public position on it. But they'll be in the anti-smoking vanguard anyway: the National Assembly's tobacco shop shuts for good on Jan. 1.

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