A nice surprise: Tobacco company stops sending free cigarettes after Pro Rauchfrei issues warning

26.12.2023 A big German tobacco company received a less pleasant Christmas present in December: a warning letter from Pro Rauchfrei e.V. because the company sends free cigarettes to interested parties after registration on the Internet. From Pro Rauchfrei’s point of view, this is a double violation of the law.

Unfortunately, this is already the third case of a similar kind: interested parties register with a tobacco company and receive free cigarettes at home – some worth 20 euros. Promoted by various retailers, such campaigns are very popular. Now a tobacco company has once again produced a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause after Pro Rauchfrei issued a warning about such a campaign. We consider such a free distribution by mail order to be inadmissible.
Specifically, in our opinion, such free distribution violates both the distribution and advertising prohibitions in the German Tobacco Products Act. On the one hand, it is prohibited to sell cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or waterpipe tobacco free of charge outside the premises of a specialist retailer, and on the other hand, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and refill containers may not be advertised on the Internet. Advertising is understood to be any commercial communication that is already indirectly suitable for promoting sales.
Pro Rauchfrei e.V. will continue to consistently pursue such cases with companies and retailers. Please contact us if you become aware of such cases.