A French lawmaker will on Wednesday submit to parliament a proposal to ban smoking in French bars, restaurants and other public places.
If approved, the ban would significantly toughen France's anti-smoking campaign, relegating smokers to sidewalks outside all cafes, bistros, night clubs and offices.
A current law forbids smoking in hospitals, train stations and airports and requires smoking sections in restaurants but is routinely flouted.
The proposal, drafted by center-right lawmaker Yves Bur, has the backing of dozens of other deputies. It needs approval by the National Assembly to become a bill.
A poll published last month showed about 80 percent of French people support a ban on smoking in public places. Even a majority of smokers _ 56 percent _ said they supported a ban, according to the IFOP poll, which surveyed 1,003 people and did not provide a margin of error. Five European countries, Italy, Ireland, Malta, Norway and Sweden, have already banned smoking in restaurants and workplaces. Belgium will ban smoking in the workplace in January and in bars and restaurants a year later, reports the AP. I.L.