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PARIS, France Starting Thursday French law will ban smoking in public places, including in the workplace, schools, hospitals, and on public transportation.
Smoking is also banned outdoors for hospitals, schools and establishments that lodge minors, such as youth hostels.
The ban, established by a November 15 decree, will apply in bars, restaurants and nightclubs starting January 1, 2008. Businesses, but not schools or hospitals, will be allowed to install separate, sealed rooms for smokers, with approved ventilation systems.
Maintenance and cleaning workers must wait one hour before entering these smoking rooms to do their work, according to the decree.
The decree, which calls for a fine of €68 ($88) for smokers violating the ban, gives France one Europe's stiffest smoking laws. The European Commission is scheduled to debate this week on efforts to establish uniform bans on smoking throughout Europe.