France has been curbing civil liberties and right since the ISIS-inspired atrocities that killed 130 people last November. However, there’s one freedom that’s been expanded in the name of guarding against terrorism: the right of high school-aged kids to smoke cigarettes on school grounds.
In a country where one-third of teenagers are regular smokers, the risk of an attack on a group of students amassed on the street was deemed greater than the well-documented dangers of tobacco usage. The BBC reports that the union of school administrators first suggested a change in the policy banning smoking at schools immediately after the attacks, but was flatly rebuffed by the health ministry.
Regardless, schools have begun allowing smoking on their property even without permission from the national government, which Deputy Secretary General Michel Richard of the administrators union justified by saying, “Students massing on the street constitutes a very high risk, one that is certainly greater than that posed by the consumption of tobacco.”
Factually, almost anyone on the planet is far more likely to die from cancer (or a car crash, falling in the bathtub, being crushed by a television set, etc.) than in a terrorist attack, but given the sustained assault on civil liberties in France since last November’s attacks (which are overwhelmingly supported by the French public), any expansion of personal liberty can be seen in a somewhat positive light.