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How successful are shock pictures and smoking bans in the fight against tobacco consumption?


Doctors report first successes through the measures against smoking

Many people still smoke in Germany every day, although in recent years various measures have been implemented to protect against the dangerous health effects of smoking. How successful are tax increases, the ban on advertising for tobacco, blanket smoking bans and shock pictures on cigarette boxes really?

In the 1970s it was still completely normal for people to smoke on television. Back then, people actually smoked everywhere - in public places, at work, in pubs and restaurants. In general, smoking was still socially accepted. However, a lot has changed in relation to this topic today.

Every year, more than 100,000 people die in Germany as a result of smoking

The consumption of tobacco is still considered the largest avoidable health risk in Germany. Experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) explain that smoking kills more than 100,000 people every year in Germany alone. Exposure to secondhand smoke also leads to illnesses and additional deaths. Apparently every fourth man and fifth woman still smokes daily or occasionally.

What diseases can be caused by smoking?

In addition to heart attacks, strokes and asthma, lung cancer in particular is one of the most dangerous health risks that are favored by smoking. Robert Koch Institute estimates show that the number of new lung cancer cases will increase from 53,900 in 2014 to around 57,000 in 2020.

Smokers harm the people around them

Unfortunately, smoking does not only harm the person who smokes, but also people in the surrounding area. Smokers blow about 85 percent of the smoke into the surrounding air. The smoke is diluted there. Nevertheless, the people present unfortunately absorb one to ten percent of the pollutants that a smoker normally inhales, experts from the Medical Working Group on Smoking and Health (ÄARG) explain. In the long term, passive smoking can lead to the same illnesses as active smoking, and thus also to lung cancer.

Nicotine has a very high addictive potential

Of course, most smokers know that their unhealthy habits harm themselves and their fellow human beings. Nevertheless, the people affected continue to smoke. Of course, most smokers have already tried to quit smoking, and it makes no difference whether they are men or women. Unfortunately, nicotine contained in tobacco has a very high addictive potential. As a result, smoking quickly creates a psychological and physical dependency.

Young people must be prevented from smoking

With young people in particular, it is important that they are prevented from smoking. Because when young people up to the age of 18 or 20 have not started smoking, they usually don't do it in their further life. That is why there are also some political measures to prevent tobacco consumption. These include, for example, strong tax increases, which reduced the number of younger smokers in the period from 2002 to 2006. Bans on tobacco advertising in the EU were also effective and led to a further reduction in the number of people who smoke. In addition, non-smoking protection laws were passed in Germany, which led to nationwide smoking bans in public facilities. Since May 2016, shocking images have also been shown on cigarette boxes. These showed, for example, corpses, damaged lungs and rotten teeth.

What were the results of the measures against smoking?

The measures had very promising results. The number of people suffering from heart attacks has already changed significantly since the measures. There were fewer hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular diseases after the introduction of non-smoking protection laws, experts explain. The effects on the number of people with lung cancer are still unclear. It often takes a long time for the first symptoms of the disease to appear. A positive influence of the measures against smoking can only be determined in a few years.

Smoke-free in Germany is now the norm in society

The far-reaching measures against smoking have already caused smoking to lose its presence. For young people in particular, it is important that smoking in pubs and bars is no longer considered normal. Experts from the Robert Koch Institute stated that smoke-free in Germany has now become the norm in society.

Tobacco industry tries to shift responsibility to consumers

Of course, the tobacco industry is not really enthusiastic about the anti-smoking measures. The high proportion of people who smoke in the population has the right to be discriminated against by federal authorities, the argument goes. In addition, it is not the job of government agencies to educate adults, say tobacco industry officials. Critics are of the opinion that the tobacco industry simply wants to shift the responsibility onto the consumer. (as)

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