The Bundesrat, Germany’s upper parliament, approved on Friday new legislation aimed to further restrict advertising for tobacco products in the country.
A ban on tobacco advertising which applied to movies and a ban on handing out free tobacco samples outside specialist stores would come into force at the beginning of 2021.
Bans on outdoor advertising, such as on billboards or bus stops, for conventional tobacco products would apply from 2022. A year later, the advertising ban would also affect tobacco heaters before finally including advertisement for electronic cigarettes in 2024.
The extensive ban would serve the health and youth protection as “smoking is proven to be harmful to health,” the German government said. Around 121,000 deaths per year in Germany were directly related to smoking, according to last year’s drug and addiction report of the federal government commissioner for drugs.
Germany is the only country in the European Union to allow tobacco advertising in public spaces.
“Many studies prove that tobacco advertising increases the attractiveness of tobacco products, in particular among children and young people,” Klaus Reinhardt, president of the German Medical Association told the German Press Agency (dpa) on Friday.
“Advertisement sets constantly key stimuli which make an exit from the addiction more difficult,” said Reinhardt.
In Germany, tobacco advertising in radio and television has already been banned since 1974. Further restrictions for tobacco advertising in print media, the internet and cinemas had been introduced subsequently.