Chaotic non-smoker protection in the Ländle

25.12.2014 Pro Rauchfrei files charges and a complaint with the supervisory authority due to numerous violations in Heidelberg’s restaurants

“Mrs Altpeter, if you are already a bad role model as a smoking health minister, then stop turning the entire ‘Ländle’ into a smokers’ state,” said the federal chairman of Pro Rauchfrei, Siegfried Ermer, at a press conference in Stuttgart in October.

Pro Rauchfrei uncovers numerous violations against the protection of non-smokers and young people in Heidelberg’s catering trade

With this press conference, Pro Rauchfrei forced Health Minister Altpeter to publish an unpleasant and long-hidden evaluation of non-smoker protection in Baden-Württemberg. After all, in this study, the regulatory authorities demand a smoking ban without exceptions in the catering trade. Non-smoker protection in schools is also criticised as inadequate.

It is precisely the exceptions in the current law that are the problem: smoking establishments and rooms, labelling, protection of minors, food, etc.

Two active members of Pro Rauchfrei put this to the test in the historic centre of Heidelberg. They found obvious abuses, which the evaluation also brought to light:

  1. Although the desolate state non-smoker protection law allows smoking establishments and also smoking rooms, in most cases the required labelling “Smoking establishment/room. No entry under the age of 18”.
  2. Where landlords had put up a notice, it was incomplete, poorly visible or covered with cigarette adverts.
  3. The actually commendable “Nice Toilet” campaign, which allows pubs and restaurants to make their sanitary facilities available to non-guests free of charge, led in some cases to the “Smoking Toilet” campaign.

The city of Heidelberg seems to have ignored the protection of non-smokers for years, even though the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control is located there. Or how else can it be explained that not even these simple deficiencies are recognised and remedied? Not to mention the smoky non-smoking areas in pubs due to open doors or “smoke-free” signals after 10 pm.

In a short space of time, the non-smoking campaigners documented 17 offences and reported them to the police. At the same time, Pro Rauchfrei lodged a complaint with the Karlsruhe Regional Council, as the city of Heidelberg’s systematic “looking the other way” is causing restaurateurs to commit administrative offences (violation of the protection of minors).

Pro Rauchfrei repeatedly calls on the Green-led state government to finally take action and introduce a non-smoking law without ifs and buts.