[JURIST] French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [BBC profile] has said that France [JURIST news archive] will impose a smoking ban [press release, in French] in public locations in February 2007, and will likely extend a smoking ban in restaurants, clubs and bars in 2008. The ban will include schools, train stations, airports, offices, public buildings and other enclosed public spaces. Individuals who violate the law will be fined $100 and property owners that fail to prohibit smoking will be fined $200. The ban will not include streets or private places, including hotel rooms. Villepin also told news reporters Sunday that France will pay part of the costs of anti-smoking aids for individuals trying to quit smoking in a move to facilitate healthier lifestyles.
Citing public health concerns, Villepin noted that France loses 60,000 people per year due to smoking, and another 5,000 a year from second-hand smoke. Several other European countries have already implemented nationwide smoking bans, including Scotland, Ireland [BBC reports], Spain, Britain [BBC backgrounder] and Italy [BBC report; JURIST report]. CBC News has more. BBC News has additional coverage.