Last updated: December 22, 2021
France became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is generally prohibited in indoor public places and workplaces; however, in some of these places, owners or managers may create designated smoking areas. Smoking is prohibited in most forms of public transport, with exceptions for taxis and outdoor places on commercial watercraft. The law also prohibits smoking in some outdoor areas, specifically those that are regularly frequented by minors. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
All forms of domestic and cross-border tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited, subject to a few exceptions. Product display is currently allowed at points of sale. All forms of financial or other sponsorship by the tobacco industry are prohibited. However, the law allows the rebroadcast of motorsport competitions containing direct or indirect advertising of brand stretching products and that take place in countries where tobacco advertising is allowed.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Standardized (plain) packaging is required for all packs of cigarettes and rolling tobacco. Packaging must be a standard color, size, and shape and may only contain specified information and the prescribed health warnings. All smoked tobacco products must carry combined text/picture health warnings occupying 65 percent of the front and back of the tobacco product package. Warnings are required to rotate. One general warning and one informational message on constituents and emissions must occupy 50 percent of each side of the package. For smokeless tobacco products, one authorized text warning must occupy 30 percent of the front and back of the tobacco product package. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law regulates specified contents in cigarettes, including banning characterizing flavors, ingredients that facilitate nicotine uptake, ingredients that may create an impression of health benefits, and ingredients associated with energy and vitality. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machine, the internet, and in or near educational facilities and centers for youth recreation. In addition, the law prohibits the sale of single cigarettes, small packs of cigarettes, and tobacco for oral use. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Prior to becoming a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, France had strong tobacco control legislation providing a ban on tobacco advertising and a ban on smoking in indoor public places and workplaces. The ratification of the FCTC in 2004 contributed to the enforcement and regulation of tobacco control measures and to the improvement of existing legislation to ensure that France aligns with best practices. The primary law governing tobacco control in France was known first as the Veil Law, passed in 1976, and then the Evin Law, passed in 1991 and now codified in the Code of Public Health.
Various orders and decrees have amended the tobacco control provisions of the Code of Public Health. Most recently, Order No. 2016-623 of May 19, 2016 transposed the EU Tobacco Products Directive 2014 (Directive 2014/40/EU) into national law by amending and replacing Arts. L3511 to L3515. Among other things, it requires standardized packaging, amends provisions on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, amends provisions related to smoking in public places, and adopts regulations on electronic cigarettes (vaping) and non-tobacco smoking products. Decree No. 20161117 of August 11, 2016 amends and renumbers Arts. R3511 through R3515. These sections of the Code address, among other things, the ban on smoking in public places and designated smoking areas, standardized packaging and labeling, and penalties for smoking offenses.
Administrative Order of March 21, 2016 implements the new standardized packaging provisions of the Code of Public Health and specifies packaging color; placement, format, content and color of permissible text; and other elements of tobacco product packaging. Administrative Order of May 19, 2016 also implements new provisions of the Code of Public Health and regulates the size, content, and format of health warnings on tobacco products, vaping products, non-tobacco smoking products and cigarette rolling papers.
In addition to the provisions on smoke free places in the Code of Public Health, several circulars have been issued to address the application of the smoking ban, including a circular for social and medical-social establishments. In addition, an order was issued in December 2010 establishing models for the “no smoking” signs.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.