Smoking Ban Boon to Asthma Sufferers in France
There's a smoking ban in France that kicked in January 1st, 2008.
Can you believe it? I don't think I can quite grasp the enormity of it. France and smoking go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Seriously, what's a French movie, without someone puffing away on a Gauloise? Think French actor Serge Gainsbourg or Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in "A Bout De Souffle" Those days are now seriously coming to a close; the Gauloises factory in France closed down in 2005 and the smoking ban has taken effect.
According to the International Herald Tribune, "About a quarter of France's 60 million people smoke. The Health Ministry said one in two regular smokers dies of smoking-related illness here, and about 5,000 nonsmokers die each year from secondhand smoke." To that end France is placing a ban on smoking in public places.
I can't believe how much the non-smoking ban has caught on nationally and internationally.
I remember being in Palo Alto back in the early 90s, visiting a friend at Stanford. We went into a restaurant and it said "No smoking". Then we went to the mall and it said "No smoking". By the third public place with a "No Smoking" sign I thought, " what's going on here?" My friend informed me the entire city was a no smoking in public places zone. Wow.
When the trend hit New York City a few years back, it virtually changed how New Yorkers go out, especially this New Yorker. Now I can go in a restaurant and not get allergic to the diner next to me who has to have that after-dinner puff. I can go into a lounge and listen to live music without having to leave early: my voice an octave lower, my clothes rank with stale smoke and my lungs in pain from second-hand smoke inhalation. The days of smoking in movie theaters and on international flights may have been over a decade ago, but places where people eat, drink, work and otherwise congregate were the last hold out. And it doesn't seem to have hurt business.
It's a fantastic move toward public health, and for those of us with chronic lung conditions, the news couldn't be better as the smoking ban spreads across the United States.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency: "Secondhand smoke can trigger asthma episodes and increase the severity of attacks. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor for new cases of asthma in preschool aged children who have not already exhibited asthma symptoms. Scientists believe that secondhand smoke irritates the chronically inflamed bronchial passages of people with asthma."
The more everyone can stay away from smoke the better.