… Paris has apparently decided that children need protectionquips Stephen Clarke as the British expatriate gets ready to tell us about the latest PC stunt to emerge from the French capital's town hall.
In a new one-year experiment, smoking is to be banned in children’s playgrounds in public parks. Personally I have always been against cigarettes for toddlers, but this ban apparently includes parents, too.
So far, there will be no fines for offenders, just warnings from park keepers, which probably means that smoking will go on unabated. After that, if fines are introduced, the scenes we see outside office buildings all over Europe will be repeated in parks – gaggles of parents and babysitters standing just outside the playground, getting their hit of nicotine before heading back into the exclusion zone. They’ll probably have to start communicating with their distant kids by phone, or by shouting. Time to buy shares in toddler-friendly telephones and cough pastilles.
It will almost certainly become more common to see Parisian parents smoking while pushing buggies, too, taking advantage of the journey to and from the playground. Another business opportunity – clip-on ashtrays for prams.