On the way to a smoke-free Germany: Pro Rauchfrei’s annual general meeting 2021

02.12.2021 New times at Pro Rauchfrei: Board, topics, activities

As for many others, the conditions for Pro Rauchfrei’s commitment have changed since last year. This was clearly evident at our annual general meeting on November 27th. Simply because it took place online, as in 2020, although we would have liked to meet in person again.

The board’s activity reports for the past year reflected further changes: In addition to the previous main topic areas of accommodation/living, collective action, work, transport, leisure, the large area “Health protection – Corona and (non-)smoking” was added as a novelty. Be it that politicians gave top priority to health protection for all citizens, but still largely ignored non-smoker protection as a very important health factor. Be it that statements about alleged protection against infection through smoking were circulating or that the mask requirement was relaxed in many places with exemptions for smoking – it was important to make our position as a lobby for non-smokers clear.

In addition, this year’s board election marked an important turning point in the club’s history of Pro Rauchfrei: our previous chairman, Siggi Ermer, passed the baton to his successor after 17 years of work on the board. We will mark his farewell from the board in a worthy manner at a face-to-face event next year, as soon as this is possible in the current situation. We will invite members separately for this purpose.

The general meeting elected Stephan Weinberger as chairman of the board and Wolfgang Polak as his deputy. Both are long-time members and have already held honorary positions: Stephan as deputy chairman and Wolfgang as regional manager for Bavaria.

Stephan is particularly interested in the associations’s ligigation activities and housing advice as two important pillars of the association. In addition, he would like to expand public relations and maintain direct contact with members at least quarterly, be it on site or online.

Wolfgang focuses on recruiting members, collaborating with other associations and consistently using our legal options to combat non-smoker protection violations.

Both stand for politically neutral, equal personal interaction based on the club’s goals. They will approach the members and hope that the same will be the case the other way around.

The election was followed by the adoption of three amendments to the statutes, including an anti-discrimination clause, and the posthumous award of honorary membership to Mr. Dieter Mennekes, who died in 2020, as a thank you for his great contributions to the promotion of Pro Rauchfrei.

In the subsequent discussion of the question “Which urgent demands for non-smoker protection should we give to the new federal government?”: In addition to already known topics and promising suggestions for action, the participants also discussed a new area: to what extent cannabis smoking will be affected due to the planned legalization the traffic light coalition the interests of non-smokers? Opinions as to whether cannabis consumption affects the association’s tasks and, if so, what demands we will make to politicians about this, differed in some cases. The board will then develop a common position on this issue in discussions with interested members.

The future should be smoke-free in Germany, too. Pro Rauchfrei is committed to this and is asking for the help of its members, supporters on social media and cooperation partners.