French smokers take to streets

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The Independent Online

Smokers across France braved chilly weather yesterday to light up on the pavements, and restaurant and cafe owners predicted hard financial times as a smoking ban took effect.

Eight states in neighbouring Germany also launched restrictions on smoking in bars and restaurants, though the measures were generally more flexible than in France - where smoking in cafes, bars, restaurants and night clubs is now prohibited.

Though French officials gave smokers a New Year's Day reprieve, saying they would only start enforcing the ban tomorrow, many Paris cafes and restaurants had already gone smoke-free.

New no-smoking signs dotted the entrance and walls of the Cafe Elysees, off Paris's celebrated Champs-Elysees avenue, and staffers bundled up for pavement smoke breaks.