French smokers face e-cig ban in public, plain cigarette packs
France Thursday said it would introduce plain cigarette packaging and ban electronic cigarettes in certain public places, in a bid to reduce high smoking rates among the under-16s.
Following a successful similar campaign in Australia, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said cigarette packets would be "the same shape, same size, same color, same typeset" to make smoking less attractive to young smokers.
"In France, 13 million adults smoke on a daily basis. And the situation is getting worse. The number of smokers is growing, especially among young people," said Touraine.
"We can't accept that tobacco kills 73,000 people every year in our country -- the equivalent of a plane crash every day with 200 people on board," she added.
France has one of the highest rates of under-16s smoking in Europe and, in addition to the plain packaging measures, Touraine also announced that smoking would be banned in playgrounds and in cars with passengers under 12.
European Union laws already force tobacco firms to cover 65 percent of the packaging with health warnings.
But France wants to go further and follow Australia's example, to the fury of the tobacco companies.