France bans smoking in playgrounds

Lighting up in the children's play areas of public parks in France is to be outlawed from July, with offenders fined €68.

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Smoking will be banned in children's playgrounds in France from next month in the latest measure aimed at reducing the nation's formidable consumption of cigarettes, reports The Telegraph.

The French are among Europe's heaviest smokers, but the government is trying to improve public health with a series of anti-tobacco measures.

From July, anyone caught smoking in the play areas of public parks will be liable to a fine of €68 (£48.50).

The ban, just in time for the long summer holidays when playgrounds will be packed, follows a one-year trial in the Parc de Montsouris, in southern Paris.

The health minister, Marisol Touraine, said it was a "common-sense measure" designed "to respect our children".

People will also be banned from smoking in cars carrying children and e-cigarettes will also be prohibited in some public places.

Ms Touraine said smoking may also banned on French beaches.

Some local authorities have already created no-smoking areas on beaches and in parks, but some Parisian smokers are indignant.

Read more of this report from The Telegraph.

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