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France, Germany Join European Anti-Smoking Ban

French smokers are savoring their last cigarettes in cafes as strict new smoking bans are to take effect in the country and much of Germany.

The French ban formally started with the New Year, but authorities say they are delaying enforcement until Wednesday.

French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot on Monday rejected calls for last-minute changes to the ban, which covers smoking in all in public places. Some establishments say the ban will hurt business.

The French smoking ban applies to restaurants, bars, cafes and night clubs, and in February it will expand to offices, schools, airports and a number of other enclosed public spaces.

In Germany, legislation requiring smoke-free areas in bars and restaurants has gone into effect in eight of 16 states. The law covers Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.