The Guardian reports:
The news was enough to have French smokers choking on their morning cigarette: France is considering banning some tobacco brands because they are just too cool.
Among those threatened are Gitanes and Gauloises, beloved of Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge Gainsbourg, who was said to puff through five packets of filterless Gitanes a day.
The ban, which could also cover the Lucky Strike, Marlboro Gold, Vogue and Fortuna brands, is the logical conclusion of a new public health law â€“ based on a European directive â€“ which stipulates tobacco products â€œmust not include any element that contributes to the promotion of tobacco or give an erroneous impression of certain characteristicsâ€.
Reporting the ban, Le Figaro said that while the directive was â€œrelatively vagueâ€, it clearly covered anything suggesting â€œmasculinity or femininity, physical slimness, youth or sociabilityâ€.
Alarmed cigarette companies have written to the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, demanding a meeting â€œgiven the seriousness and urgency of the situationâ€ and asking for clarification and the chance to appeal against any ban before the new health code article, currently being considered by the council of state, is published in 10 daysâ€™ time.
I can remember the young Strobe Talbot, then editor of the Yale Daily News, stalking around campus in trenchcoat & beret, smoking a Gauloise.