A French health minister has called on local authorities to ban smoking in parks and on beaches, sparking widespread debate.
Marisol Touraine told a national newspaper, the Journal du Dimanche, that she wanted to see more tobacco-free zones to protect children’s health. The Socialist minister said she hoped smoking would also be banned outside schools and on university campuses.
Smoke-free beaches have appeared in some French resorts in recent years. Similar steps have already been taken elsewhere in the world, notably in New York City which prohibited smoking on beaches and in parks in the same year.
Her remarks were picked up by other newspapers, generating lively debates online.
Smoking is the main cause of avoidable mortality in France and is regarded as being responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases and 73,000 premature deaths each year, according to the country’s National Institute for Prevention and Health Education.