Bundestag: Tobacco advertising ban tightened

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After the supplementary budget and basic pension, the Bundestag was far from over. The deputies met until late into the night and took further decisions – including the long-debated ban on tobacco advertising.

After years of discussion, the Bundestag has approved a far-reaching ban on tobacco advertising. After that, cinema advertising for smoking will be banned from the coming year if the film is released for under-18s. The distribution of free samples is no longer permitted outside of specialist shops.

From 2022 there will be a ban on advertising on outside surfaces such as billboards or stops – even if only for conventional tobacco products. For tobacco heaters, the ban on outdoor advertising will apply from 2023, and a year later outdoor advertising for e-cigarettes will also be prohibited. However, the Federal Council still has to agree.


“With the ban on tobacco advertising, we are finally directly on target,” said the Federal Government’s Drugs Commissioner, Daniela Ludwig (CSU), the German Press Agency. Doctors have long been calling for additional bans to prevent young people from smoking in particular.

Tobacco industry: “Education” must be possible

However, the tobacco industry criticized the project and referred to the different health risks for conventional cigarettes on the one hand and less harmful tobacco heaters and e-cigarettes on the other. Therefore, “education” about the new products must also be possible in the future in order to encourage smokers to “switch to low-emission products”, said the managing director of Philip Morris, Claudia Oeking.

The tobacco industry has recently spent 100 million euros a year on cinema and outdoor advertising. Part of this income also went to the municipalities – for example, for billboard advertising at bus stops. The municipalities are now losing this income.

Prohibition only at the second attempt

The federal cabinet had already decided to ban tobacco advertising in 2016. However, the bill was stuck in the Bundestag for years – mainly because of the resistance in the Union faction. There were general concerns about such an intervention. At the end of last year, however, the Union faction cleared the way for a second attempt.

Further decisions of the Bundestag

Law on sharper action against Gaffer recordings: Anyone who photographs women under their skirts or spreads pictures of dead accident victims must face fines in the future. The new regulation aims at so-called upskirting and photos taken by gawkers at accident sites. So far, photography of the deceased was not punishable, this gap is now being closed.

Voucher solution for canceled trips: If a package tour cannot be carried out due to Corona, tour operators can also offer their customers vouchers in the future. The Bundestag has approved a corresponding bill by the Federal Government. Customers can opt for a refund of the money paid or for the voucher.

Previously, the Bundestag had cleared the way for the basic pension and decided the supplementary budget with a record level of debt due to the corona pandemic.



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