Paris smokers and tobacconists puffed their cigarettes in relief on Thursday, happy they would not have to light up in hermetic cabins in the future after the French government postponed legislation to ban smoking in bars.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, weakened after a months-long crisis over a youth jobs law, on Wednesday delayed the proposals for a ban on smoking in public places and called for months of consultation on the issue.
Anti-smoking campaigners complained the government had sacrificed the health of millions to avoid a new controversy so soon after the humiliating jobs law debacle.
But smokers were happy.
“I love my daily coffee and cigarette,” said Louisa Bunz, 47, as she smoked in a central Paris bar.
Bunz said the government’s idea of making restaurants tobacco-free and force smokers into hermetic, ventilated phonebox-style cabins without drinks and food was ridiculous.
“It would be like a little smokers’ prison cell,” she said.
If I lived in France, I’d be digging in for a new wave of attacks and certainly not resting on my laurels. The enemies of freedom prefer sneak attacks right before dawn.