Families Warm to France’s First Smoke-Free Beach

Posted August 3rd, 2011 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A small town on the French Mediterranean coast has banned smoking, becoming the first non-smoking beach in France.

The project was introduced by the deputy mayor of the town of La Ciotat, Noel Collura, and went into effect earlier this year.

Collura says he followed the example set by New York City, which earlier this year banned smoking from most public parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. Collura says the plan has worked well, for non-smokers and smokers alike. He says it allows families with small children the chance to enjoy the “Plage Lumiere” beach without being bothered by smoke or cigarette butts in the sand.

The town official adds that smokers appear to be respecting the ban, which covers just a small portion of La Ciotat's 13 kilometers of shoreline. Visitors who prefer to smoke walk to an area outside the beach entrance.

Collura says the beach is patrolled by police who are authorized to fine violators $50. But few tickets have been handed out, because those who unknowingly light up are usually reminded of the no-smoking policy by other beach-goers.