French MPs have voted against an antismoking rule that has deprived many iconic figures of their cigarettes and pipes in posters or photos.
Authorities had removed smouldering Gauloises from pictures of a string of famous French figures in recent years due to fear of breaking the so-called Evin law, which bans the "direct or indirect" promotion of tobacco products.
In 2009 the trademark pipe of the late Jacques Tati, one of France's most enduring comic characters, was replaced with a yellow windmill in a poster campaign.
One cinema expert commented that the poster would have made Tati "die laughing".
Now French MPs have approved a bill that excludes "cultural heritage" from the antismoking rules.
"The falsification of history, the censorship of works of the mind, the denial of reality must remain the heinous marks of totalitarian regimes," the Telegraph quoted the bill as stating.
Didier Malthus, the Socialist MP who drafted the bill, said that those who had interpreted the law in such an "extensive way" had "put cultural works into question".
The first time the law had sparked outcry was over a 1996 stamp featuring a well-known photo of Andre Malraux, the award-winning author and culture minister of Charles de Gaulle's cabinet, sans his trademark cigarette.
Other top French personalities to fall foul of the law were Alain Delon, the actor and Jacques Chirac, the former president, whose cigarette was removed from the cover of his memoirs.