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Learning English - Words in the News
 
02 January, 2008 - Published 15:00 GMT
 
France introduces smoking ban
 
cigarettes

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.

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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

Listen to the words

come into effect
officially become the law

busy puffing away
(informal) smoking cigarettes quickly

is without teeth
doesn't have serious consequences

reprieve
when you're let off (or don't have to do) something for a period of time

to bring in
to celebrate

a fag
(informal) a cigarette

resistance
people feel very strongly that they don't want something (here, the ban on smoking to become the law)

an affront to personal liberty
an action which insults or offends the freedom of individuals

says it means business
is very serious about something

a thing of the past
something which no longer happens


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