Broad alliance for smoking ban in cars when children or pregnant women are present

28.11.2022  A broad alliance of 37 organisations, associations and institutions is calling for a ban on smoking in cars when children or pregnant women are present.

The Federal Government and the Bundestag are called upon to standardise a legal ban on smoking in closed vehicles in the presence of minors and pregnant women by amending the Federal Non-Smoker Protection Act or the Road Traffic Act. To enforce the ban, offences should be punished with an effective fine

Minors and unborn children are particularly exposed to passive smoking in enclosed spaces. Children and adolescents are particularly affected because, among other things, they have a higher respiratory rate and their lungs are still developing up to the age of 20. Passive smoke exposure for minors is particularly high in vehicle cabins: within just a few minutes, smoking a single cigarette causes a concentration of tobacco smoke that is many times higher than in a heavily smoky restaurant. It is estimated that around one million children and young people in Germany are exposed to tobacco smoke in cars. An expert report by the Scientific Service of the German Bundestag from October 2015 came to the conclusion that a smoking ban in vehicles is compatible with the German constitution.

Stephan Weinberger, board member and press spokesman for Pro Rauchfrei, considers a ban on smoking in cars to be one of the indispensable measures for the protection of children and young people: “The legislator has the authority to ban smoking in cars. Moreover, according to surveys, a majority of the population is in favour of the law. Act now, Federal Government – to protect children!

Passive smoking is a major health hazard. Tobacco smoke contains around 250 toxic and around 90 carcinogenic substances. According to the German Cancer Research Centre, a whole range of health effects are observed in children. These include damage to the developing lungs, respiratory problems and respiratory diseases as well as impaired lung function. (Passive) smoking during pregnancy also frequently leads to complications such as miscarriages, premature births and stillbirths, a reduction in the weight and size of the newborn’s body and head and is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome in babies. There may also be a link between passive smoking and behavioural problems in children and obesity in adulthood.

Association appeal “Health protection comes first – For a ban on smoking in cars when minors or pregnant women are present” with all signatory associations, organisations and institutions.

More on the topic:

Which European countries have bans on smoking in cars?

Smoking ban in cars – A draft law awaits resubmission