French smokers are holding their breath with fear that cafe culture –
one of their country's cultural gifts to the world – will be
extinguished when a ban on lighting up in public places comes into
effect. France is the latest EU member state to be forced into a smoking ban.
We will all have that sense of deja vous, as we watch carefully to see how the French react to the EU imposed ban, to see whether they mildly accept it in the same way the British have watched their own pub culture being ripped apart.
France's bars, nightclubs and restaurants will all have to display no smoking signs from Jan 2.
Businesses are installing new outdoor areas for smokers, but a vocal
minority predict that the ban will strike a mortal blow to the
country's cherished cafe culture. But Roselyne Bachelot, the health minister, vowed a “zero tolerance” approach, with offenders facing a £50 fine.
The initial reaction is exactly the same as we saw in the UK when the smoking ban came into force.
“It's going to be a real mess,” said René Le Pape,
president of the Confederation of Tobacconists, which has about 30,000
“What are we supposed to do? Call the gendarme when a loyal customer of 30 years lights up? This law is inapplicable.”
At the Café Macumba in Pezens, near Carcassonne,
south-west France, there was a sense of good-humoured rebellion among
the five regulars who were all smoking and sipping demis (about a half
pint of beer) at 11am. The bar is one of just two in the village and is
a key meeting place for its 1,600-strong population.
out a cigarette, Fabienne claimed that her personal freedom was being
undermined. “You can take out the first word from our motto: Liberty,
Equality, Fraternity,” she said. “We can no longer do what we like.”
and public health officials have been ordered to enforce the law but
with “discernment” – suggesting that the government wants to ease into
the ban without any major incidents.
We watch with anticipation as to how the French will react, because in the new EU, national cultures, traditions and history have no place and are being slowly destroyed. It will just be a homogenised authoritarian super state.
It is interesting to note how the smoking ban has been carefully managed and introduced into the member states in stages, so that it does not affect all countries at the same time. The EU method of drip drip drip, salami slicing so that we do not notice its effects and avoiding a Europe-wide revolt.
Ireland's ban, the first in the EU, was introduced in 2004, quickly followed by Sweden, Belgium and Malta in 2005.
Italy also followed suit in 2005 – But the Italian government doesn't seem to be interested in adhering to
its own laws: While citizens obey the ban, clouds of smoke can be found
in one public building, according to Italian newspaper La Republicca: The Palazzo Chigi, Italy's seat of government.
And in the UK whilst the ban affects the entire population, smoking is still allowed in the bars of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
In January 2007, EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou made clear the prospect of EU-wide legislation if nations did not fall into line.
Do as I say, not as I do.
European Union – Destroyer of Nations