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The French and Their Cigarettes: The Growing Anti-Smoking Movement in France

Smoking in ParisGH Cheng

I first learned about the complex relationship between the French and their cigarettes as an English assistant in a high school in the French countryside. The staff was split on the question of whether or not smoking should be banned in the teachers’ lounge, where profs had been enjoying cigarettes for as long as the school had existed.

As a young American living in France for the first time, I was adjusting to several cultural changes. Seeing teachers pass bottles of red wine between them during lunch break in the cafeteria (something students did themselves until alcohol in school cafeterias was banned about 60 years ago) was one example of such differences. The smoking in the teachers’ lounge debate was the next one to add to the list.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »

Smoking in France: Watch Me As I Fauxke This Cigarette

While I can go weeks without encountering a cigarette in the U.S., smoking is still a prevalent part of Parisian life. Though a recent smoking ban has cleared the air in restaurants and cafes, the French still manage to get their daily nicotine fix. How else are they going to stay so thin? Soon after moving to France, I wrote this post about how to be a non-smoker among smokers. Enjoy!

Flickr Candida.PerformaCandida.Performa

Let’s chat about smoking for a minute. Despite a recently passed no-smoking-in-bars law, tobacco continues to reign supreme in Paris. And while I’ve never really had any interest in being a smoker, it has become exceedingly clear that you won’t get far very in this town unless your lungs are lined with filth.

Listen up, Americans. Despite what your 3rd grade D.A.R.E. counselor may have told you, smoking is cool and, yes, it kind of makes you look like a movie star. I wish I could pull it off, but there’s a problem: smoking literally makes me feel like I’m going to die. Not so much in the moment, but more so the day after when I wake up wondering if I’ve swallowed a cauldron full of battery acid.

And now, while I would like to get really self-righteous about the importance of not smoking, my non-smoker status is less a responsible choice than it is a biological necessity. So my conundrum: what to do during the numerous cigarette breaks that inevitably occur over the course of a bar-hopping evening?

Flickr trix0rTrixOr

Option 1: I can stay inside the bar and hang out with the loser non-smokers.

Option 2: I can concoct a strategy that will afford me access to international smoking circles without sacrificing the sanctity of my lungs.

Option 2 it is. I’ve come up with a clever little trick: faux smoking… “fauxking” if you will (pronounced foh-king). I know it sounds sexual, but don’t get excited—it’s not. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »