France Considers Smoking Ban, Marketers Fear Loss of Hipsters
If tobacco marketers thought France was a safe haven, they may be in for an attitude adjustment. A parliamentary panel in France is considering a ban on public smoking as soon as next year as well as considering "hermetically sealed" partitioned rooms for smokers complete with smoke-extraction systems and health rules.
This is a big deal considering the longtime French love affair with cigarettes, plus everyone knows that if the existentialist black-clad intelligentsia can't smoke in public venues then they stop being intelligentsia and start being, well, whiny kids. And apparently if you dig far enough into the French President's website, you'll find a photo of a younger Jacques Chirac with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, channeling James Dean with all his might. We don't know why that's relevant to the story, but somehow it just is.
The ban's meeting opposition from hoteliers, tabacconists and bar owners, but that's to be expected and who really listens to those people anyway? "Smokers have rights, too," insists a sixty-year-old computer technician named Rhazmi Ayache. "They must find a way to coexist. There can be two kinds of cafes."
That's like suggesting the longtime conflict between humans and Professor Xavier's mutants can be easily fixed with two kinds of grocery stores. Can't you see? We're just not the same. -Contributed by Angela Natividad