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Home \Legislation by Country \France \  Summary
Last updated: July 20th 2015


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 and limited advertising are currently allowed at points of sale. In addition, the law allows the direct broadcast of motorsport competitions that take place in a country where tobacco advertising is permitted. All forms of financial or other sponsorship by the tobacco industry is prohibited.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: All packaged units of smoked tobacco products are required to bear two warnings, one consisting of text only and covering at least 30 percent of the front and one consisting of a warning accompanied by an image covering at least 40 percent of the back. Warnings are prescribed by the European Union and are not currently required to rotate. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited.

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.  Articles L3511-1 through L3511-9 contain provisions on smoking in public places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labeling.  Articles L3512-1 through L3512-4 contain criminal provisions. 

With respect to smoke free places, Decree No. 2006-1386 provides further details around the application of the ban on smoking in public places; this has also been codified in the Code of Public Health (Article R3511). Several circulars were issued in 2006 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 signs required by Article R3511-6 (e.g., no smoking signs). 

In addition to the Code of Public Health, the following pieces of legislation govern tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship: (1) Order of December 31, 1992; (2) Decree No. 2004-68, Statute on Retailers and Resellers of Tobacco; and (3) Articles 283 (Annex 2) and 570 of the General Tax Code.

With respect to tobacco packaging and labeling, the Order of April 15, 2010, concerning procedures for the writing of health warnings on units of packaging of tobacco products, establishes the requirements related to graphic health warnings and other packaging and labeling requirements.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.