The Public Health Act recently passed by the French parliament makes provision for the prohibition of drinks dispensing machines in the country's schools and colleges.

The ban, which is part of a state campaign to combat obesity, especially among young people, will take effect from the 2005-2006 academic year.

The Act also heralds a tougher stance on TV commercials for drinks with extra sugar and salt additives or sweeteners and other additives. Commercials will now have to be accompanied with a health message unless advertisers agree to make a donation to France's national institute for health education, INPES.

The wide-sweeping legislation also broadens the range of pre-mix alcoholic drinks on which duty is levied in a drive to check alcohol consumption among young people.