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Air France Breaks the Smoking Habit

August 27, 2000

Who thought they would ever do it? After some fits and starts, Air France is finally breaking the cigarette habit on all its airplanes. But as befits the airline of a nation known for loving nicotine, the ban has some unusual concessions.

The ban begins Nov. 1. But Air France, declaring it is "well aware of the effect on some of its customers of not being able to smoke over long periods of time," promises to provide a "nicotine substitute" on board, though it did not offer details. And to help anxious smokers prepare for the in-flight duress, it will arrange modestly priced appointments (about $30) with a "physician specializing in smokers' disorders" in Paris every Saturday starting this week.

Air France has banned smoking on U.S. inbound and outbound flights since March 1998. And since June 4, by order of the U.S. Department of Transportation, smoking has been banned on all airlines' scheduled flights involving U.S. destinations. But Air France has continued to allow smoking on flights to Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. On some planes, passengers can light up in "smokers' bars"--curtained-off and ventilated areas in cabins.

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