“But what are you talking about ?”: the ban on smoking at the beach, a shock measure in the anti-smoking plan promised for the summer, already buried ?

“But what are you talking about ?”: the ban on smoking at the beach, a shock measure in the anti-smoking plan promised for the summer, already buried ?

In Palavas, at the beginning of spring: cold for swimming, and cigarettes on the sand. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

What became the flagship device of the 2023-2027 national program to combat tobacco, unveiled on November 28, was the ban on smoking at the beach? Six months later, the implementing decree has not been passed, and the promise is, for many, forgotten.

"What are you talking about ?"However, it was the flagship measure of the national tobacco control program, presented six months ago by the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau: "It will now be prohibited smoking on the beaches", announced the Cévenol on November 28, also promising to increase the price of cigarettes to try to curb consumption which does not weaken, and which kills, each year, 75,000 people in France.

A quarter of French people smoke, recalls the survey of Public Health France published this Tuesday, May 28, a few days away of World Tobacco Day, May 31.

In the last six months, the price of cigarettes has been increased twice, but the promise of a cigarette-free seaside is popular with the French (81% of people are in favor, according to a Ipsos survey of 2020), has almost fallen into oblivion, after Aurélien Rousseau left his chair to the duo Catherine Vautrin/Frédéric Valletoux.

Jean-Michel Weiss, municipal police officer: “When we announce a measure and do nothing to ensure that it is respected, nothing happens”< /h2>

"The decree has not been issued", and Jean-Michel Weiss admits it, he is "relieved". The national secretary of the autonomous federation of the territorial civil service, in charge of the municipal police, and head of the municipal police of Grande-Motte who welcomes this Wednesday 29&nbsp ;May the municipal police show of Occitanie, has perfectly in mind the announcements of the Ministry of Health, six months ago.

But for him, "the alignment of the planets is not there to implement this type of measure, in a year ;e whereù the CRS will not be engaged on the beaches, and the gendarmerie squadrons mobilized for the Olympic Games.

For him, summer 2024 will be a white season: "When we announce a measure and do nothing to ensure that we respect it, nothing happens nothing".

And basically, he is not convinced of the point: "It’s a ’ piphene which requires the commitment of many means.

In this month of May, the Ministry of Health, contacted numerous times by Midi Libre, is noticeably absent. Its representative in Occitanie, the director of the Regional Health Agency Didier Jaffre, has difficulty understanding the system. Its teams will specify that if the measure does indeed exist, it is "the sixteenth point of the national plan to combat tobacco", it is "prefects and elected officials to adapt the standard to local specificities". 

The prefects have been silent for weeks on the subject, even before being subject to the right of reserve which is imposed during electoral periods.

The elected officials, impatient or relieved, who, for some, did not wait for the government to act, via decrees, are talking a little more.

Jean-Michel Solé, mayor of Banuyls-sur-mer: "We are not going to be Ayatollahs"

"The decree is still not out, we cannot apply it, but we are already thinking about solutions to implement it place", assures Carole Fafue, responsible for communications and events at the town hall of Banuyls-sur-Mer, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. The text was promised in the first quarter of 2024.

“But what are you talking about ?”: the ban on smoking at the beach, a shock measure in the anti-smoking plan promised for the summer, already buried ?

In Banyuls-sur-Mer, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, the municipality is waiting for the green light from the government.

The Catalan town hall, which issued one of the first decrees banning Occitania, on Sana beach, in 2016, wants, without delay, to pass its most urban beach in a “non-smoking” zone. "We are not Ayatollahs", assures the mayor (various right) Jean-Michel Solé, very concerned, for the health of his constituents and especially "against the proliferation of cigarette butts" , which already speaks in the present tense: "It’is obligatory, but we will try to apply it sparingly".

"We didn't rush to Aurélien Rousseau's announcements"

At Grau-du-Roi, Robert Crauste (various center), former doctor, already has two tobacco-free beaches, by municipal decree. If the system were to become widespread, he does not see how to apply it to Espiguette, for example: "Repression is difficult& ;quot;.

“But what are you talking about ?”: the ban on smoking at the beach, a shock measure in the anti-smoking plan promised for the summer, already buried ?

Tobacco-free beaches still at the initiative of mayors, like here in Grau-du-Roi. Free Midi – Free Midi

In the meantime, he notes that "things have improved a lot, citizen behavior is progressing".< /p>

"We didn't rush to Aurélien Rousseau's announcements", admits Yvon Bourrel, mayor (DVG) of Mauguio Carnon, who is concerned about the implementation of the ban: "There is education to be done , at the risk of establishing a system that we will not be able to enforce, and which will put us in difficulty".

This year, the town has prepared another campaign, anti-butts, which threatens anyone who "forgets" his cigarette residue on the sand:"My beach is not an ashtray". Make no mistake with the entry into force of the government's shadow system.

These beaches where you can no longer smoke

The commune of Fleury d’Aude was the first to issue an order prohibiting smoking at the beach, in 2016, four years before the election of André-Luc Montagnier. "At the initiative of the league against cancer, on the beach between the town hall and the Hôtel des Rochers, now the Neptune", remembers the town hall employee who had set up the system, over 200 meters, a very small portion of the 6.5 km open to swimming.

"We had a little difficulty enforcing it, then things normalized over time”, she notes. Jean-Bernard Dubois, who had just taken over the presidency of the League in Hérault, former director of the Val d’Aurelle cancer institute, was present at the’ rsquo;inauguration. He remembers a "sympathetic" event, where a few provocateurs deliberately passed cigarettes in their mouths : "Me, I continue to smoke& nbsp;!"

Four years earlier, it was the city of Nice which opened the first tobacco-free beach, Centenaire Beach, four others followed, and many others also in Anglet, Biarritz, Marseille, Villers-sur-Mer, Porto-Vecchio (la Palombaggia), Aix-les-Bains, Menton… le Grau-du-Roi, since 2019.

"Things are going slowly, they need to infuse into society", believes Jean-Bernard Dubois, and what does it matter if "it" rsquo;is pollution more than cancer" which plays a role in changes in mentality.

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