Health: Bundestag decides far-reaching advertising ban for tobacco

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After years of discussion, the Bundestag has further restricted advertising for smoking in Germany. The parliamentary resolution of late Thursday evening will prohibit cinema advertising for smoking from the coming year if the respective film is released for under-18-year-olds. The distribution of free samples outside of specialty stores will also be prohibited in the future.

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.

“At last we are directly on target with the ban on tobacco advertising,” said the Federal Government’s drug commissioner, Daniela Ludwig (CSU). Doctors have long been calling for additional bans to prevent young people from smoking in particular.

Tobacco manufacturers want to continue “educating”

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-pollution products”, said the managing director of Philip Morris, Claudia Oeking.

The deputy chairwoman of the Union group, Gitta Connemann (CDU), defended the ban on advertising and at the same time assured that corresponding measures were not planned for alcohol and sweets. Tobacco is “the only legal product that causes illness and kills when consumed as intended,” said Connemann. “A glass of wine doesn’t make an alcoholic, a chocolate bar doesn’t make fatty liver.”

A first attempt to pass such a law failed four years ago. In 2016, the cabinet approved the plans of the then responsible minister of nutrition, Christian Schmidt (CSU). But they were never passed in the Bundestag. At the end of last year, the Union faction cleared the way for a second attempt.

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