France will soon ban smoking on all beaches, parks, forests and near schools

france smoking

France has pledged to raise the first “tobacco-free generation” by 2032 with an ambitious national anti-smoking plan that will see the habit banned in thousands of public spaces, including on beaches and in parks.  

Following President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to establish “the first tobacco-free generation” by 2032, the French government is stepping up its national strategy to curb smoking, a habit enjoyed by at estimated 12 million people in France.  

Taking the responsibility away from local authorities, the French government will soon control the zones and areas where people can and cannot smoke, as announced by Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau on 28th November.  

“We are now shifting the responsibility and establishing a principle which will become the rule,” Rousseau said of the plan to designate many public spaces no-go zones for smoking, such as parks, forest areas, beaches, and near schools.  


There are currently 7,200 French smoke-free zones, including numerous spots in Nice, which was among the pioneering cities to take concrete actions against ant-social smoking. Nice established its first “smokeless” beach in 2012. 

Dozens of other towns and cities have also since installed non-smoking areas on beaches, from locally along the Riviera and in Monaco to Saint-Malo and Biarritz. The concern about smoking on the beaches is two-fold, with the health aspect joining the environmental one. Cigarette butts left on beaches are the second biggest litter problem on coastal areas, after plastic bottles. 

Smoking has also been forbidden in restaurants in France since 2008, and despite initial concerns that it would ruin businesses, it has been a success, meeting with approval by the public.  


To strengthen the case, government is planning on hitting smokers further in the pocketbook, saying taxes on cigarettes will be raised so that a pack of 20 will soon cost about €11. This will incrementally increase to €13 by 2027. 

The main objective of the new plan is to prevent young people from ever taking up smoking in the first place, and the measures taken so far seem to be working. There has been a steady decline in smoking for young people since 2017, which will no doubt continue as high prices become a more of a deterrent.  

In addition to traditional cigarettes, there is also a movement in the government to ban “puffs”, the popular single-use disposable vapes favoured by young people. These devices are said to be environmentally unfriendly as well as health hazards.  

“Every year, France pays a heavy price for smoking, which remains the leading cause of avoidable mortality,” said Rousseau.  

Smoking causes up to 75,000 preventable deaths each year in France. 

Click here for more information on the national programme.

Read more:

Could France ban “bad habit” electronic cigarettes?


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Photo source: Gerrit Frohlich, Unsplash