France has announced it will ban smoking in all public places from February 2007.
However, restaurants, dance clubs, some bars and cafés will be exempt until 2008.
French prime minister Dominique de Villepin made the announcement on Sunday (8 October), adding that about 60,000 people die each year from smoking related illnesses in the country with another 5,000 deaths caused by passive smoking.
Around 12 million of France's 62 million population smoke.
Politicians in the country have floated the idea that cafés, bars and casinos may be able to introduce hermetically sealed and ventilated smoking rooms as part of the restrictions.
The idea was suggested by the UK Government as part of forthcoming smoking restrictions in England and Wales but abandoned as too costly.
Wales is set to ban smoking in public places in April next year with England following suit at an unspecified date in the summer.
Scotland has had a smoking ban in public places since the end of March this year.
By Chris Druce