Smokeless Europe

Smokeless Europe

Already France’s 14 million smokers face big, bold-face new warnings that SMOKING KILLS and perhaps only slightly less worrisome to a Frenchman, can damage sperm, reduce ferulity and cause impotence. The tobacco industry is under attack all over Europe, where a million people are believed to die from tobacco – related illnesses each year. Ireland is set to ban smoking in public places – icluding pubs and restaurants. European Union Health Commissioner has promised legislation banning smoking in the workplace across the Coontinent.

In response French tabacconists have staged a series of increasingly radical protests, culminating on Oct. 20, which marked the latest tax increases, with the nation’s first “day without tabacco” demonstrations. Confederation leaders say Chirac’s war threatens 200,000 jobs in French tobacco fields and claim to have collected 4.3 million signatures protesting the new taxes. France first required small warning labels in 1991, but most smokers just ignored them, joking that France is nots Claifornia. In a sign of how much attitudes have changed, the Frrench state lauched its first big lawsuit against the tobacco industry this summer, seeking more than €18.6 million in compensation for the cost of caring for alleged tobacco victims. The targets of the suit: Philip Moris, JTI Reynolds, Rothmans.

“Tobacco is a pu

ublic enemy. It’s a matter of a fight without concessions to prevent tens of thousands of deaths,” French Health Minister declared as an anti-smoking bill. “We will act on every front to progressively rid our society of tobacco.” Taxes are a favorite weapon of the cigarete war across Europe. The Altadis spokeswoman, however, says sudden tax hikes historically have little impact, other than to promote smuggling from countries where taxes are lower.

With the rest of EU, it is preparing to furher dramatize the warning labels with photographs of cancer victims and blackend lungs. It is hard to know just how badly European tobacco companies are hurting in part because many were until recently controlled by the states that are nors atttacking them

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