The mayor of Nice announced in a statement that all beaches in the city will be "tobacco-free" by the summer of 2024.
"My objective is twofold, to preserve the health of the people of Nice and to preserve the environment," said Christian Estrosi.
He stated that 150 million cigarette butts are thrown each year in the streets of Nice – the fifth largest city of France – and that it is "a major source of pollution".
Cigarette butts are the second most common litter found on European beaches, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Last year, WHO called on governments worldwide to consider cigarette filters as single-use plastics and ban them as they damage the environment and have no proven health benefits.
Widening the area
In 2012, Nice was among the first to ban cigarettes on one of its pebble beaches.
Next summer, the ban on lighting a cigarette will be expanded to the entire Nice coast accessible to the public.
This decision was made alongside the Ligue contre le cancer, an association working to make the fight against cancer a societal issue and its new president in the Alpes-Maritimes, Laurence Cressin-Bensa.
The idea is to protect children and non-smokers from the dangers of passive smoking.
Un enjeu de prévention indissociable de l'accompagnement des habitants lorsqu'ils sont atteints de la maladie. Avec @laliguecancer, nous déployons de nouvelles actions au profit des malades qui contribueront à améliorer la prise en charge et à faire baisser le nombre de décès.— Christian Estrosi (@cestrosi) November 14, 2023
Mr Estrosi had also announced that he wanted to make Nice a "zero plastic" city by 2025.
Already banned elsewhere
Nice, the city which will host the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2025, wants to get rid of cigarette butts and smokers on its seashores in order to set an example.
However there are already a number of non-smoking beaches elsewhere.
The ban on smoking on the beaches was put in place last summer in the neighbouring town of Cagnes-sur-Mer.
Marseille chose in 2020 to ban cigarettes on all of its supervised beaches during the high tourist season, from June 1 to September 1.
Many other coastal towns in France such as Cannes and Menton followed suit with two and one non-smoking beaches respectively. The move has so far proved to be well received by locals and tourists.