France to ban electronic cigarettes in public

PARIS Fri May 31, 2013 7:24pm IST

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this illustration picture taken in Paris, March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this illustration picture taken in Paris, March 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Related Topics

Stocks

   

PARIS (Reuters) - France will ban electronic cigarette smoking in public places by imposing the same curbs enforced since 2007 to combat tobacco smoking, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Friday.

Amid mounting global concern over the public health implications of so-called e-cigarettes, Touraine said they faced the same fate as traditional ones: a ban on smoking in public spaces and sales to minors and a blackout on media advertising.

In a country where the pungent waft of Gaulloises and Gitanes once seemed an unassailable part of cafe culture, smokers have long been banished to outdoor terrace seats.

The near-odorless electronic alternative - battery-driven devices that allow users inhale odorless nicotine-laced vapor rather than smoke - are gaining ground in no-go zones such as bars, cafes, trains, waiting rooms and offices.

A government-commissioned report said this week that around 500,000 people in France had turned to e-cigarettes, which are designed to look like cigarettes although some come in different colors, and recommended a crackdown on public use.

Health officials in many countries say the impact of electronic cigarettes on health needs further study.

Another worry they cite is that the electronic alternative will increase the general temptation to smoke, including enticing those who have quit to start again, or that smokers may use them alongside rather than instead of regular cigarettes.

"This is no ordinary product because it encourages mimicking and could promote taking up smoking," said Touraine, who announced her plans at a news conference.

In the United States, the number of smokers who have tried out e-cigarettes doubled to one in five in 2011 and the number of all adults trying it doubled too, to 6 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In France, a country of 66 million, the government says tobacco smoking kills some 66,000 people a year and another 5,000 are killed through passive exposure to smoke.

The expert in charge of the French report advised against an outright ban on e-cigarettes, however, saying they still seemed safer than tar-laden tobacco.

Electronic cigarettes, whose invention is widely credited to a Chinese pharmacist a decade ago, usually comprise disposable cartridges of liquid such as propylene glycol that is easily turned to vapor and can contain artificial flavors alongside concentrated liquid nicotine.

(Reporting by Brian Love and Chine Labbe; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:

Ebola Crisis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage