Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) — France bans smoking in cafes, hotels and clubs on Jan. 1, stamping out the habit popularized by Jean- Paul Sartre puffing Gauloises in hazy brasseries.
In Germany, 11 of the country’s 16 states plan similar restrictions for 2008. Six of those, including Berlin and Bavaria, start Jan. 1. France banned smoking in offices and public places this year. Germany prohibits puffers at train stations and federal buildings.
The limits are part of the European Union’s public health plan initiated in 1985. In France and Germany, more than 200,000 people die each year from tobacco. The new restrictions have drawn criticism from smokers’ groups, restaurant associations and civil liberties organizations in both countries.
“Maybe we’re a bit stupid with our traditions, but we have the right to be as such and I cannot stand the idea of a hygienic, clean, and sorry to say `American style’ society,’’ said David Droulez, head of the Friends of Pleasure and Taste Association in Paris, which wants to defend France’s “epicurean conviviality.’’