Sunday, April 23, 2006

French smoking ban delayed

An unfortunate consequence of De Villepin's defeat over the CPE:

De Villepin avoids clash on smoking

By Martin Arnold in Paris, FT, April 13 2006

"Dominique de Villepin, prime minister, who has seen his popularity hit a record low after his battle over labour reform, asked Xavier Bertrand, health minister, to carry out more evaluations on the impact of a smoking ban after a meeting to finalise plans for a new law.

Mr Bertrand said only last weekend he wanted to go "as fast as possible" to pass a law protecting people from passive smoking at work, in bars and in restaurants.

While the idea of a smoking ban in public places is supported by 80 per cent of French people, it is likely to face fierce opposition from powerful business groups, including tobacconists, restaurateurs and bar owners.

"Once again the government is backing down. It is total confusion," said Claude Evin, an anti-smoking advocate and opposition Socialist deputy.

Mr de Villepin seems to have balked at the risk of introducing a ban so soon after being forced to back down in the face of street protests by millions of students and workers against his youth labour law...",dwp_uuid=d4f2ab60-c98e-11d7-81c6-0820abe49a01.html