Learning English - Words in the News
02 January, 2008 - Published 15:00 GMT
France introduces smoking ban
France has joined several other European countries in imposing a ban on smoking in bars, cafes and restaurants. The ban came into effect at midnight on New Year's Eve. Most people appear to have accepted the prohibition as inevitable, though there's strong resistance in rural France. Hugh Schofield reports.
Here in the Point du Jour bar in the town of Cosne sur Loire in Burgundy the tobacco ban has, shall we say, not quite yet come into effect. There's a group of four or five men beside me here at the counter and they're all busy puffing away. Have no fear though, this does not mean that the ban is without teeth. The fact is that the government has given a twenty-four hour reprieve for people to bring in the New Year. And from tomorrow, everyone here concedes they will be respecting the law. If they want a ‘cloppe’ or a fag, it'll be outside on the pavement or in their cars.
It's in places like this deep in the heart of the French countryside that resistance to the smoking ban has been at its strongest. People see it here as an affront to personal liberty and as a threat to a traditional way of life centred on the village café. But the fines are large, the government says it means business.
And so from tomorrow here at the Point du Jour bar as across the rest of France, the morning coffee and cigarette will be a thing of the past.
Hugh Schofoeld, BBC News, Burgundy
come into effect
busy puffing away
is without teeth
to bring in
an affront to personal liberty
says it means business
a thing of the past
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