Tobacco-free public space – how is the European law executed in my country?

Smoking UN 2018

World Bank Photo: World Bank

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Sophie Gepp and Ms Laura Jung, the National Public Health Officers of the German Medical Students Association (bvmd). They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Despite having adopted the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004 (1), Germany is still lacking behind in the execution of the Frameworks main ideas.

One issue is the fragmentation of the tobacco law. Since Germany is a Federal State and smoking laws are not made on a national level, each of the 16 states has its own smoking law.

While smoking in public buildings and public transport is consistently banned all over Germany, regulation around smoking bans in restaurants, pubs and cafés, is more complicated. Only three states, covering roughly 40% of the population, have strict smoking bans in these localities (2). Other states have generous exceptions to the smoking ban, e.g. for places with a size of less than 75 m² or with a restricted access for minors. Due to these exceptions, a majority of bars in many cities are eventually not smoking free, which increases second-hand smoking.

However, the fragmented law on smoking bans is not the biggest problem regarding tobacco free public spaces – a higher focus on tobacco advertisement is needed.

Germany is the only country in the EU which still allows billboard and cinema advertising of tobacco products in public spaces (3). Although the discussion about restrictions on tobacco advertisement have been going on for decades (4), all past attempts to ban billboard advertisement of tobacco in Germany have failed.

A reason for this is the strong influence of the tobacco lobby in Germany (5). The financial power of the industry is especially used to influence policy-makers, e.g. through sponsoring events and direct donations to parties. Lobby control states that from 2010 to 2015, Philip Morris alone gave 544,000 Euro to three major parties in Germany (6).

Evidence on the influence of advertisement on the uptake of smoking seems to be quite strong (7) and has been established since the 90s. If anything, evidence has only got stronger, especially regarding the influence on adolescents (8), which are often directly targeted by smoking advertisements (9). Because of this impact on smoking habits, a ban of tobacco advertisement should be an essential part of every anti-smoking policy.

In conclusion, there are two different issues with regard to tobacco-free public spaces in Germany. One is the inconsistency of smoking bans between federal states, the second is the failure to pass a ban on tobacco advertisement. This omnipresence of tobacco in public spaces, might partly explain why the prevalence of smoking in Germany remains quite high.

References

  1. United Nations. (2004). United Nations Treaty Collection. Accessed: 9.12.2017.        https://treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IX-                  4&chapter=9&clang=_en.
  2. pro-rauchfrei e.V. (Accessed: 13.10..2018                                                         https://www.pro-rauchfrei.de/wir-informieren/ueberblick-ueber-                 nichtraucherschutz-                gesetze-in-den-einzelnen-bundeslaendern
  3. Joossens, L. and M. Raw. (2017). “The Tobacco Control Scale 2016 in Europe.”
  4. Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum. (Accessed: 9.12.2017).

https://www.dkfz.de/de/tabakkontrolle/Tabakwerbung_und_Sponsoring.html.

  1. Der Spiegel (Accessed: 22.10.2018)

http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/service/zigarettenlobby-volker-kauder-                  blockiert-gesetz-gegen-tabakwerbung-a-1137549.html

  1. Müller, U. (2016). “Wie Der Tabakkonzern Philip Morris Die Parteien Sponsert”.      LobbyControl. Accessed: 12.12.2017.                   https://www.lobbycontrol.de/2016/12/philip-morris/.
  2. Botvin, G. J., et al. (1993). “Smoking Behavior of Adolescents Exposed to Cigarette Advertising.” Public Health Rep 108 2: page 217-24.
  3. Lovato, C., et al. (2003). “Impact of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion on Increasing Adolescent Smoking Behaviours.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev  4: page                   Cd003439.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2006). “Children, Adolescents, and Advertising.”           Pediatrics 118 6: page 2563-69.

     About the authors

Sophie Gepp and Laura Jung are the National Public Health Officers of the German Medical Students Association (bvmd) and have worked in other international organisations as UAEM before. They study Medicine in Berlin and Leipzig. Both of them finished a Public Health Masters at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last  year. They have a keen interest in public and global health and are currently trying to make these topics more accessible and attractive for other medical students.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Training for staff in early childhood education and care must promote practices that foster children’s learning, development and well-being

These countries have the most nuclear reactors

Record numbers of people in the UK have applied to study nursing

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Code of Practice on disinformation: Commission welcomes new prospective signatories and calls for strong and timely revision

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

South Sudan: UN calls for end to inter-communal clashes, attacks against aid workers

Here’s why human-robot collaboration is the future of manufacturing

JADE Spring Meeting 2017– day 1: Excellence awards, panel discussion, keynote speeches

EC v Samsung: A whole year to compile a case

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Countries are piling on record amounts of debt amid COVID-19. Here’s what that means

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register ‘Right to Cure’ initiative

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Global warming: our responsibility

COVID-19 has hit Black Americans hardest. Healing this divide would lift the nation

Will COVID-19 usher in a new culture of outdoor living and dining?

From Hangzhou to Rwanda: how Jack Ma brought Chinese e-commerce to Africa

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

The importance of including palliative care in the Universal Health Coverage and how to achieve it

5 Ways Companies Can Progress More Women into Leadership Roles

Health Care Workers’ Safety and Health as Assets in the Fight Against COVID-19

GSMA announces speakers for Mobile 360 Series-West Africa

This is how we make basic income a reality

Revealed: danger and squalor for cleaners who remove human waste by hand

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

UN Envoy ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert further violence around key Yemeni port city

EU boosts humanitarian aid budget for 2021 as needs rise

The final countdown towards achieving the 2030 Agenda: the contribution of future health(care) professionals

Vaccine nationalism – and how it could affect us all

Investing in health workers yields ‘triple dividend’, WHO chief says in New Year’s message

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: how to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care in UHC

Commission (Eurostat) publishes first statistics on short-stay accommodation booked via collaborative economy platforms

Overcoming the paralysis of trust management across a fractured IT landscape

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

Human rights breaches in Eritrea, Nicaragua and Saudi Arabia

Cross-border travel is confusing after COVID – this framework can help borders reopen safely

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cutting emissions, one bog at a time

Artificial Intelligence in policing: safeguards needed against mass surveillance

World Cancer Day: Here’s how perceptions about the disease differ around the world

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Mobile World Congress 2021: Barcelona 08 June-01 July

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, UN forum told

When Can Everyone Pluck the Grapes?

These vending machines are giving out free short stories to London commuters

Brexit casts a shadow over the LSE – Deutsche Börse merger: a tracer of how or if brexit is to be implemented

There’s a single-use plastic you’ll throw away today without realising

Malaria could be gone by the middle of the century. Here’s how

Impact of high-fats food regimen on immune activity, tumor growth.

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: