Freedom from the obligation to smoke

Smoke-free – good for everyone!

08.07.2019 When the FDP parliamentary group’s drug policy spokesperson, Wieland Schinnenburg, proposes keeping places in Germany smoke-free where it is impossible or almost impossible to avoid smoke, this is a remarkable initiative for the FDP and has our full support. It would be a good and logical start to remove tobacco smoke from all areas where children and young people are affected on a daily basis: public playgrounds, bus stops or railway platforms, areas in front of schools and daycare centres, as the FDP politician lists.

In general, it is not possible to avoid passive smoking in many places in everyday life. Many brief moments of particularly heavy exposure add up to chronic health damage day after day. Added to this is the exposure to second-hand smoke indoors, at work, in smoking households or in the catering trade, where 13 federal states have extremely inadequate protection for non-smokers. Taken together, this results in considerable exposure to tobacco smoke, which is even more harmful for minors and sick people than for healthy people.

Anyone who thinks that tobacco smoke evaporates upwards in outdoor areas should be told that a passing smoker on the street alone leaves behind ten times more fine dust than road traffic. Bus stop shelters or other covered areas allow the smoke to dissipate even more poorly. Entrance doors to buildings suck in the smoke from the entrance areas in front of them when they are opened, and behind them the smoke builds up in the interior. Not to mention trains and buses, where the smoke enters when the doors are open, but hardly ever leaves again.

“Smoke-free means freedom from the compulsion to smoke,” says Siegfried Ermer, press spokesman for the consumer protection organisation Pro Rauchfrei e.V.: “Far too little is said about this freedom in the public debate. But this freedom should be a matter of course, especially for our children and young people.” As this principle has not been enforced voluntarily for decades, binding regulations are needed, nationwide, for inside and outside, adds Ermer.

You can find out more about smoke-free places in our position paper: