Smoking in Germany
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (March 2013)|
Germany has one of Europe's highest smoking rates; Germany's patchwork of smoking bans continues to be contested.
Historical development in the German states
In Berlin, a non-smoking law came into effect on 1 January 2007. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled on that law at the end of July and decided that small bars (often called corner bars) were at a disadvantage under the law, as they could not provide a separate smoking area. The senate was asked to submit a new law by the end of 2009. In the transitional period, smoking was permitted in bars which are not larger than 75 square metres and have only one guest room. In addition, the bar was not allowed to serve meals (only snacks), or allow minors to enter, and was required to post a sign saying that the bar is for smokers. In practice, the smoking ban is generally observed in cafés, theatres and restaurants (where food is served), but not in bars. Clubs and discos must, officially, have a separate smoking room, but as controllers do not work past 10 pm, these laws are not enforced.
In August 2007, the states of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony banned smoking in restaurants, bars and clubs. In October 2007 Hesse also passed a law with similar regulations. Most of the other German states followed in January 2008, though many of these bans still allow smoking in separate ventilated rooms.
Certain states, North Rhine-Westphalia being one, were given a reprieve, and the imposition of the ban was delayed to 1 July 2008. However since then, many bars call themselves smoking "clubs", with signed up members who are allowed to smoke. Whether this tactic will succeed long term remains to be seen.
Bavaria pretended to have the strictest non-smoking rules; however there was a loophole allowing smoking in "private clubs" and the subsequent redesignation of thousands of bars as "private clubs" made the law ineffective. Nevertheless, discontent against the new rules was blamed for the disappointing electoral results of the long-time leading party - CSU - in the 2008 election. Using this pretext, new rules allowing for more smoking in bars and restaurants have been introduced. However, following a call for a referendum by opposition parties and NGOs, enough signatures were collected to launch the Bavarian referendum procedure, which has three steps: private collection of signatures in the streets (validated), official collection of signatures in town halls (from 19 November 2009 to 2 December 2009) and eventually the referendum proper. The referendum called for a smoking ban in all bars and restaurants, without the previous loopholes. On 4 July 2010 the referendum was held and passed by a majority of 61% to 39%. From 1 August 2010, all loopholes were closed and there should, theoretically, be no smoking at all indoors. In view of the previous lack of enforcement, smoke-free bars and restaurants might still not be universal in the state.
After the 2009 election in the state of Saarland, the Green party became indispensable for both possible coalitions (either SPD-The Left-Greens or CDU-FDP-Greens). The Green party put forward a smoking ban in all bars and restaurants as a conditions for coalition negotiations with any party; and eventually the coalition treaty of the now governing CDU-FDP-Greens coalition stipulates that the smoking ban shall be extended to all bars and restaurants.
Smoking is banned on public transport and in hospitals, airports and public and federal buildings, including the parliament.
Smoking prevention in schools
German Cancer Aid is the leading supporter of the "Smokefree Class Competition", the largest school-based smoking prevention program in Europe. The goal of this organization, founded by the late German First Lady Mildred Scheel, is to create a class climate that denormalizes smoking. The German slogan for the campaign is: Be smart - don't start.
The idea of the Smokefree Class Competition was first established in Finland in 1989. In the school year 1997/1998 the Smokefree Class Competition was carried out on a European level for the first time. World-wide, Algeria, Canada, Israel, Russia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have noticed[clarification needed] the project.
The managing director of German Cancer Aid, Gerd Nettekoven, said: In the school-year 2009/2010 the competition was carried out in the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (Wales). According to the statistics Germany had the highest success.
- Wiesel, Christian (28 February 2009). "Dichter Qualm trotz Rauchverbot". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 26 May 2009.