Antoine Bienvault // Photo credit: Abdesslam MIRDASS / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP 11:21 a.m., November 29, 2023

Smoking cigarettes at the beach or in parks will soon be a thing of the past. The government presented its new anti-smoking plan on Tuesday. Among the new measures adopted: the ban on smoking in public places. In Parisian parks, the decision is experienced as absurd by smokers and interpreted as a deprivation of freedom.

The price of a pack of cigarettes has not finished rising in France. The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, presented a new anti-smoking plan on Tuesday. In addition to increasing the price of cigarettes, the ban on smoking in parks, gardens and around schools will be extended to the entire country. Smokers are unhappy with these measures.

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An unnecessary measure for some

Like every evening, José meets up with his pétanque companions in the park, a stone's throw from his home. In his right hand, the jack he is about to throw and in the other, his inevitable cigarette that accompanies each game. For the fifty-year-old, it is unthinkable to do without this little pleasure. "They can't ban in parks, oh no! They have already banned smoking in cafes, on public transport. Finally, we want to smoke, it's a pleasure. So, we smoke and that's it," José told Europe 1 radio.

Banning smoking in parks is also a useless measure for Alain, who frantically consumes his rolling tobacco on a bench at the foot of the trees. "It's too much," says the young man. "We're out in the open. So there's no reason for me, it's a question of freedom. Of course, if the wind goes towards someone who doesn't smoke, I'll just put myself somewhere else," he adds.

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Smokers inclined to make an effort when children are present

Thibaut, on the other hand, is more open on the issue, provided that a compromise is found. "Next to us, we have a park mostly with young children. Yes, I'll understand" if smoking was banned in the park, the young man said. On the other hand, "in a public place where there are non-smokers but no young children, I don't see why smoking should be banned," he adds. But what annoys the young man the most is this new increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes with a rise to 12 euros planned for 2025.