Smoking is a choice. The risks of smoking have been made clear in most countries, including France, but people continue to light up. Smoking in France is fashionable. Many young French men and women socially smoke with their family and friends. Twenty percent of the population in France smoked in 2008. Who are smokers helping and who are they hurting?
We all know the dangers of secondhand smoke. It’s hard to enjoy a lovely French meal while inhaling secondhand smoke from the neighboring table. The Association of Non-Smokers, Droits des Non-Fumeurs (DNF), has recently begun filing subpoenas against about a dozen Parisian cafés that have broken the law by allowing smoking on closed terraces. The 2008 smoking ban in public places has moved a lot of the public smoking habits outdoors. Some daring bars and restaurants might face a 750 Euro fine for violating the law, according to an article on Les Echos.fr. The article stressed that the restaurant owners support the law but fear the impact it might have on the attendance of their smoking customers.
The government may have implemented the ban, but it continues to profit from the increasing cigarette sale revenue. Starting next year, the French government will receive 80.4 percent of each pack of cigarettes sold. But the government isn’t the only profiting party, the tobacco companies in France and abroad are still the cash cows of the business. Following along on the money train are pharmaceutical companies, cancer centers, pulmonologists and drug stores, which all profit from smokers and the consequences of smoking. One blogger said, “Smoking makes life a whole system, as rotten as it is, it is useful to society from the angle that one perceives it.”
Two French girls admit their love of smoking despite the risks: