The clean-air legislation follows the lead of Spain, Italy, and Ireland. More than 65,000 French people die each year from smoking-related illness or effects of second-hand smoke.
The move follows a steep decline in the popularity of smoking in France. In the 1950s, about three quarters of French males smoked. Today, about three quarters do not smoke.
Government policy had a hand in the change. Federal taxes raised the price of cigarettes by more than half in the past three years. They now cost about $6.66 a pack.
Starting in February, the ministry will give would-be quitters $66 coupons redeemable for the purchase of nicotine patches, chewing gum or lozenges. Read more.