|Health vs. profit: Anti-smoking efforts in Germany|
|Implemented in this survey?|
The German federal government passed a law on 27 April 2007 to ban smoking in all buildings under federal authority and in public transport and to raise the age limit for smoking from 16 to 18 years. The federal states agreed on banning smoking in restaurants, schools, public buildings and bars; some states have established exemptions. Most regulations still remain to be implemented.
The report "Health vs. profit: Anti-smoking efforts in Germany" (08/2006) described a policy paper of the governing coalition to ban smoking in all public areas, to raise the age limit for buying tobacco from 16 to 18 years, and to ban tobacco advertising.
However, not all issues could be addressed by the federal government. Many public places like schools, hospitals, bars, restaurants, etc. lie within the responsibility of the federal states. The federal government only had the legal authority to ban smoking in public transportation, buildings under federal authority and to raise the age limit - and did so by a law passed on 27 April 2007. Since then, the federal states have started to implement smoking bans one by one, after failing to come to a joint solution. Since each state followed its own time line and establishes its own exemptions, anti-smoking efforts in Germany have reached a new level of intensity but remain fragmented.
How effective a well implemented smoking ban could be shows research by the European Network for Smoking Prevention: A ban on advertising tobacco products reduces smoking in the population by 7 % and a ban of smoking at the work place (including restaurants and pubs) reduces smoking in the population by 5 %; in addition non-smokers are better protected against passive smoking (European Network for Smoking Prevention 2004).
|Medienpräsenz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
The approach of banning smoking in public to reduce the harm of passive smoking is a well established policy in many European countries - it is system-neutral. Although the implementation in other European countries with strong smoking and pub cultures showed positive effects, However, the discussion in Germany continues to be controversial and lagging behind. With different opinions of strong interest groups clashing, the debate around the law was and is intense and publicly visible.
|Implemented in this survey?|
The center-state divide of authority in federal Germany jeoparizes a consistent ban of smoking in public. Although federal states negotiated the issue and tried to find one comprehensive and nationwide solution, divergent opinions led to a piecemeal result. In March 2007 the state health ministers agreed on a ban of smoking in schools, state buildings, hospitals, restaurants and bars. However, this agreement was not legally binding, but rather a policy statement. The definite legislation is task of each federal state and includes exemptions for local pubs, beer tents, and adjoining rooms in restaurants. Exemptions were especially required by states with strong tobacco lobby groups and local customs.
Interest group positions
Physicians and researchers criticize fragmentation of anti-smoking efforts
The physician association and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg criticize that there are exemptions; a general ban would be more useful and easier to execute. The current situation enables 16 different solutions for smoking regulations in Germany, with every state having different exemptions. A general ban on smoking would make it easier to understand, follow and enforce the rules.
Influential Association of German Tobacco Industry ends in smoke
In the middle of all discussion on anti-smoking regulations, the influential Association of German Tobacco Industry (VDC) has dissolved as a result of internal conflict (reported by Handelsblatt, 29 June 2007). The industry leader in Germany, Philip Morris (37% market share), left the association in May 2007, claiming to disagree with its position on anti-smoking efforts.
Philip Morris claimed to be in favor of a stronger regulation of the tobacco industry and does not completely oppose smoking bans (quoting from www.philipmorrisinternational.com: "Philip Morris International believes that the conclusions of public health officials concerning environmental tobacco smoke are sufficient to warrant measures that regulate smoking in public places.")
The other six producers of tobacco products in Germany criticized Philip Morris' position as hypocritical. The VDC was dissolved in summer 2007. Since then former VDC members are discussing conditions under which to reestablish the association (Löwisch 2008).
Conquering new markets
In strong discrepancy to its former intensive lobbying efforts, trying to prevent anti-smoking regulation, the German tobacco industry today portrays itself as the voice of reason (Löwisch 2008). Tobacco companies publicly call on owners of restaurants and bars to adhere to existing laws banning smoking in their facilities. Instead of fighting the implementation of smoking bans, the industry assists restaurants and bars in installing separate smoking rooms, which are allowed in almost all federal states, and provide them with free equipment and furniture. The truth of all of this: business is elsewhere - in the larger, unprotected markets of developing and threshold countries.
Association of German Catering Industry takes up the banner
The banner of fighting for "smokers' freedom" has been taken up by the Federal Association of the German Hotel and Catering Industrie (DEHOGA). Inspite of international evidence proving the opposite (Avance group 2007), restaurant and pub owners are afraid of losing customers due to smoking bans. DEHOGA and local associations of the hotel and catering industry critizise the smoking ban and perceive the possibility of having separated rooms for smokers in restaurants and pubs as insufficient. They argue that the ban threatens smaller businesses that do not have space (nor means to establish) for separated smoking rooms. DEHOGA has filed a constituitonal complaint in December 2007, arguing that a smoking ban would reduce the entrepeneurial freedom of restaurant and bar owners. Some bar owners have gone as far as requesting a unitary solution - they state that it would be easier for all parties concerned to adjust to prohibition / clearcut regulation - rather than coping with 16 different regional and temporary legislations.
The Bavarian Association of the Hotel and Catering Industry also strays from the "permissive" view, stating that there should be either no regulation or a strict ban of smoking in all pubs, whithout any exemptions.
|Federal Minister of Health||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal Minister of Consumer Protection||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal State Governments||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal Parliament||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal State Parliaments||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Physician Association||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|German Cancer Research Center||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor|
|Association of the German tobacco industry (VDC)||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal association of the German hotel and catering industry (DEHOGA)||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Bavarian association of the hotel and catering industry||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|HOGA (Brandenburgs Association of the Hotel and Catering Industry)||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
Anti-smoking efforts hindered by political divide
In Germany, efforts to ban smoking in public have been lengthy and troublesome. First, because of a reluctance of German policymakers to go beyond voluntary commitments, later because of a competence allocation matter between the federal government and the federal states.
Originally, the federal government wanted to impose a general ban on smoking in public places (see report 8/2006), but could only implement a law to ban smoking in buildings under federal authority, federal court rooms and in public transport and raise the legal age of smoking from 16 to 18 years. Parliament passed a corresponding law on 27 April 2007; the Federal Council agreed to the law on 6 July 2007. First parts of this law bacame effective on 1 September 2007.
Implementation and enforcement of a smoking ban in bars, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other buildings under public authority lay in the responsibility of the States. The Federal Ministry of Health feared that states would not be able to agree on a nationwide solution - a concern that proved to be justified. Especially the federal state Lower Saxony did not want to introduce a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants - a position that might have been influenced by lobbyist groups. In the course of the negotiation process, Lower Saxony changed its opinion due to pressure from opposition and federal government.
The ministers of the federal states agreed on 22 March 2007 to introduce regulations to ban smoking, but did not succeed in coming up with a nationwide agreement. Legislation was left to every single state.
While all states stated their intention to ban smoking in schools, hospitals, public buildings, restaurants and pubs, cultural and recreative facilities, exemptions are still possible and vary from state to state. Bavaria has passed the most restrictive ban on smoking. Outside Bavaria, separate smoking rooms are still possible; Saarland even allows smoking in main pub rooms, as long as the owner and/or spouse are the only people working there.
Generally, in most public places, no matter if recreational or cultural facilities, schools or hospitals, the provision of a separate smoking room is allowed. Taking a closer look, things are getting more complicated: Hamburg, Bavaria, and Lower Saxony do not allow smoking rooms in schools but accept them in hospitals. Northrhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate passed a complete smoking ban in hospitals as well as in schools. Some states have even installed exemptions for beer tents: Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg, and Rhineland-Palatinate still wants to allow smoking in beer tents/halls, while banning it in pubs and restaurants. This list of state-to-state differences in regulations could be continued.
|Federal Minister of Health||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal Minister of Consumer Protection||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal State Governments||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal Parliament||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal State Parliaments||sehr groß||kein|
|Physician Association||sehr groß||kein|
|German Cancer Research Center||sehr groß||kein|
|Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor|
|Association of the German tobacco industry (VDC)||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal association of the German hotel and catering industry (DEHOGA)||sehr groß||kein|
|Bavarian association of the hotel and catering industry||sehr groß||kein|
|HOGA (Brandenburgs Association of the Hotel and Catering Industry)||sehr groß||kein|
Timeline for implementation is as fragmented as regulations themselves
Smoking bans introduced on state level (exemptions differ for every state, usually smoking is allowed in separate rooms):
1 August 2007:
1 October 2007:
1 January 2008:
1 February 2008:
15 February 2008:
1 July 2008:
There will be monetary fines for not acting according to the new regulations in all states. Both the smoker and the owner of the facility have to pay a fine. The fine will be different in every state and will lie between € 5 and € 5,000.
Slow legislation process is followed by hesitant enforcement
Once the federal and state governments finally finished their legislative proceedings, responsibility for enforcing the new laws lies with local authorities. Often, responsible actors at the local level are hesitant to take the necessary steps for enforcement.
The new regulations will be evaluated by most federal state governments by 31 December 2009.
The fragmentation in anti-smoking regulations lead to a rekindling of the discussion every time a state enters a new phase in ant-smoking regulation. This means that the debate on smoking bans, their use for public health and the restrictions they mean for smokers, is unnecessarily prolonged. Furthermore, the reasons for differing regulations for each federal state are difficult to explain to the public.
However, in the long run, anti-smoking efforts can be expected to be successful. Most Germans support a smoking ban in public places, and experience from other countries suggests that implementation is rather smooth after initial debate has ceased, with sanctions put in place.
Once regulations have been enacted in all states, non-smokers will be better protected from passive smoking.
|Qualität||kaum Einfluss||starker Einfluss|
|Gerechtigkeit||System weniger gerecht||System gerechter|
|Kosteneffizienz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
The policy has no impact on the quality of health care services and the level of equity, because it is a preventive measure. Cost-efficiency is very high: After implementation direct costs should be considerably reduced, for both tobacco addicts and cancer patients. On the other side, it is true that revenues of tobacco taxation will most likely diminish. If there is going to be only a marginal reduction in deaths due to passive smoking and an increase in the health status of the population, the policy can be seen as cost-efficient.
|Health vs. profit: Anti-smoking efforts in Germany|
Process Stages: Strategiepapier, Idee
Reviewer: Sophia Schlette