Germany still a smokers paradise?

Cancer experts criticize inadequate containment of tobacco use
Some smokers may feel that their freedoms have been significantly restricted by the legislation of the past ten years, but Germany lags behind in European comparison when it comes to curbing smoking. "Germany has done little in this regard in recent years and therefore offers the tobacco industry a paradisiacal situation compared to other European countries," reports the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

In Germany, far too little is being done to curb smoking and promote non-smoking, according to the current DKFZ report. In a European comparison of measures to curb tobacco consumption, Germany has now come second to last for the second time in a row. Only in Austria was less action taken against tobacco consumption. This is shown by the so-called "Tobacco Control Scale 2016", a survey in 35 European countries that was presented at the seventh European Tobacco Control Conference in Porto.

Germany's only country without a ban on outdoor advertising
The result of the current survey is sobering. Accordingly, Germany is a veritable paradise for the tobacco industry in European comparison. For example, the Federal Republic of Germany is "the only country in the EU that still allows outdoor advertising for tobacco products", reports the DKFZ. Germany has also not taken any measures since 2010 to reduce smoking. Only the European tobacco product directive was implemented in national law last year. However, this was mandatory for all EU member states, according to the DKFZ.

Measures to reduce tobacco use assessed
The tobacco control scale was used to quantify and evaluate the introduction of measures to reduce smoking among the individual EU countries. The World Cancer Research Center reports that six different measures have been classified as effective by the World Bank and should therefore be introduced as part of a comprehensive tobacco prevention strategy. The measures include tobacco tax increases, smoke-free public spaces, information campaigns, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, warnings on tobacco packaging and support in stopping smoking.

Advancing laws faster
The ranking clearly shows the great need for action that exists in Germany in tobacco control, emphasizes the head of the Cancer Prevention Unit and the WHO Collaboration Center for Tobacco Control at the DKFZ, Dr. Ute Mons. "A particularly striking example is the long overdue ban on outdoor advertising," said Mons at the seventh European Conference on Tobacco or Health in Porto. It is high time to implement the draft law for a ban on outdoor tobacco advertising, which has been in place for almost a year now and has been repeatedly delayed, the expert emphasizes. Germany only achieved half of the possible points only for bans on smoking in public spaces and for the introduction of new warnings; the Federal Republic was below for all other criteria.

Other EU countries act decisively
In other European countries, on the other hand, there was a more far-reaching approach to tobacco consumption. Above all, Great Britain and Northern Ireland in particular have repeatedly introduced new regulations in recent years, reports the DKFZ. The experts cite examples of the introduction of standardized packaging for tobacco products and a ban on smoking in the car when children are traveling. A country can only move up in the ranking if it has taken new measures since it was last recorded, explains the DKFZ. Germany has done little in this regard in recent years and therefore offers the tobacco industry downright heavenly conditions. The consequences are dramatic. Around 121,000 people would die each year from the damage to health caused by smoking. (fp)

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