In the past, politicians were very open about their taste for tobacco. Georges Pompidou, for example, president of France from 1969-1974, didn’t hesitate to light a cigarette during a television debate. This would be unthinkable in this day and age.
More recently, Jacques Chirac had no problem appearing in public with a cigarette in his mouth, despite his wife’s warnings. In 2013, while on vacation in Corrèze and after years of not smoking, Jacques Chirac returned to tobacco. To indulge in his secret pleasure, the ex-president even hid in the bathroom lest he be reproached.
Today, politicians continue to enjoy the occasional cigarette, albeit more discretely. Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the former Green Party deputy, José Bové, are fervent tobacco pipe smokers.
Even the current president of France, Emmanuel Macron, recently revealed to L’Express magazine that he likes to smoke cigars in his office. Indeed, his life insurance medical records confirm his taste for it. However, Emmanuel Macron remains very discreet about his intake. For the time being, the press has not released any photos of him smoking.
The new wave of politicians and e-cigarettes
Since the anti-tobacco law, traditional cigarettes have become taboo in the world of modern politics.
When the former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, was caught smoking, the photo created a huge scandal. As a result, some politicians smoke e-cigarettes to maintain their image, but they also do it for health benefits.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s former minister, Jean-Louis Borlee, is regularly seen smoking e-cigarettes. Marine Le Pen didn’t hesitate to use an e-cigarette just before the presidential debates. The president of France’s National Front says she quit smoking 4 years ago thanks to the e-cigarette.