Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Germany: tobacco industry paradise
  1. Martina Poetschke-Langer,
  2. Susanne Schunk
  1. Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center), Heidelberg, Germany
  1. Martina Poetschke-Langer, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, GermanyM.Poetschke-Langer{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Arriving in Germany, visitors are immediately confronted with the social acceptability of smoking. Even in the international airport at Frankfurt, one of the first German airports to ban smoking, authorities re-established “restricted” but open smoking areas, so that passengers are continuously exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. On most German trains, visitors will find bistros with crowds of smokers. Although smoking in public is not allowed for people aged under 16 years, nobody pays attention to the restriction—typically, parents do not interfere when their children smoke as many parents are smokers themselves. Like Japan, Germany has vending machines on almost every corner. With 80 million inhabitants, Germany has more than 800 000 vending machines, one machine for every 30 smokers with free access for adults and children day and night.

In 1998, 37% of men and 28% of women aged 18–79 smoked.1 Smoking commences in Germany on average at 13.7 years, 13.6 for boys and 13.7 for girls. By the age of 16, 44% are regular smokers; sex specific information is not available.2 As smoking is being initiated at a young age, the teenage market is obviously critical to the tobacco industry.


Since 1974 there has been a ban on tobacco advertising on radio and TV and for advertising that suggests that smoking is harmless, healthy, or enhances physical wellbeing. Advertising may not show enjoyment during the act of smoking.

Since the 1960s the tobacco industry has agreed to voluntary advertising restrictions to prevent stronger regulations or a ban, although the prospects of such a ban being introduced now seem remote. The actual self regulation agreement signed by the tobacco industry and the government has never been made public, so the following information may be incomplete. The restrictions include: no advertising in association with health topics nor with elements that …

View Full Text