We focus on the following topics

Fully smoke-free gastronomy

Current federal regulations don’t sufficiently protect citizens from the dangers of passive smoking in the long term.

On the 30th of July 2008, the federal constitutional court ruled that a sweeping smoking ban in all sectors is constitutional. Health being the highest legal right, the freedom of smokers must end when others are in their vicinity. This means there is no longer any legal obstacle to uniformly banning smoking across the country.

Unfortunately, smoking is now permitted again not only in smoking rooms, but also in bars below a certain size. The idea behind this is to protect the equal opportunities of smaller establishments.

We demand that the softening of the laws and the numerous exceptions for adjoining rooms, beer tents or smaller venues come to an end. Non-smokers must be able to participate fully in social life everywhere without having to search in vain for a smoke-free pub or bar. We demand a legal and unrestricted smoking ban for the entire hospitality industry with effective sanctions for violations.

In addition, employees in the hospitality industry also have a right to a smoke-free workplace that doesn’t continuously endanger their health. Efforts in other countries clearly show the positive effects of consistent regulation on public health and also prove that smokers quickly come to terms with going outside for a short time.

Smoke-free daycare centers, schools and universities

There is still no uniform nationwide ban on smoking inside these buildings and their grounds. Children, pupils and students are at risk. They have no effective means of making themselves heard and obviously need our protection.

Smoke-free hospitals

Hospitals serve the recovery of sick people. Nevertheless, in many hospitals smoking is still permitted in side rooms, on balconies or in private wards. Here also smoking must be prohibited on the entire grounds. The sale of tobacco products, whether in kiosks or from vending machines, should be forbidden.

Smoke-free workplaces

A non-smoking provision has been part of the Workplace Ordinance for years. However, it does not effectively protect those it is supposed to: employees are entitled to a smoke-free workplace but they have to demand it themselves and risk bullying and dismissal if the management is not on their side. The trade authorities are responsible for enforcement. However, it is usually futile to approach them as they tend to refer to the vaguely worded exemption regulation and thus leave the passive smoking victim out in the cold. To this day, we are not aware of any successful interventions by the trade authorities.

We are calling for a complete overhaul of the non-smoking provision. A smoke-free workplace should be the employer’s responsibility, not the employee’s. We demand random inspections of companies, an anonymous hotline for those affected and clearly defined exceptions.

The state has a duty to adequately protect all employees from hazards including exposure to particulate matter and chemicals, to which strict regulations apply. It is unacceptable that employees in the catering industry are not protected and are therefore second-class citizens. Elsewhere, such concentrations of particulate matter would mean immediate evacuation. The federal and state governments must no longer pass the buck to each other. There must finally be a nationwide ban on smoking in all workplaces without exception, which is why the Workplace Ordinance must be amended accordingly.

In general, all private premises must also be included in the non-smoking protection, provided they are open to the public. This applies in particular to hairdressing salons, shopping centers, doctors’ surgeries and other publicly accessible establishments.

Abolition of all tobacco advertising

Cigarettes are still actively advertised in this country, even though Germany made a commitment to the World Health Organization ten years ago to abolish all advertising for tobacco products. Financial interests still outweigh concern for the health of our children. More information on this point here.

Abolition of tobacco vending machines

Germany is an unfortunate world leader in tobacco vending machines with around 400,000 machines today (300,000 of which are accessible children). We are calling for a complete ban on these vending machines in order to improve the protection of minors and reduce the presence of tobacco products in public. The stricter regulations of the Jugendschutzgesetz (Youth Protection Act) are not enough to effectively protect our young people from tobacco addiction. As long as tobacco products are available in Germany anonymously and at any time of day or night, progress in the area of youth protection is unlikely.

Protection of children and other people in need of special protection

Every year, over 6 million people worldwide die as a result of active or passive tobacco consumption, and billions of people suffer massive health problems as a result. We adopted in October 2014 the resolution on child protection at our yearly general assembly.

Children are particularly vulnerable as they are forced to inhale the toxic smoke their parents, guardians or other smokers compulsively produce, without realizing the damage they are doing. Only in Germany are we confronted to the deaths of 3 children on a daily basis, and this only because they were unlucky enough to be raised in a smoking environment. A most compelling instance of this is sudden infant death syndrome: the number is estimated to be 300 per year in Germany [1].

The tobacco industry is irresponsibly addicting people to its drugs purely for profit, exploiting them financially and knowingly damaging their health. The development of automated production processes and a chemical tobacco mixture has led to a mass addiction that affects the population in its entirety. This ruthless pursuit of profit is destroying billions of trees and fertile farmland, harming and killing people and animals alike. In Germany alone, the economic damage is estimated to be at least EUR 33.6 billion per year [2]. After deducting around EUR 13.4 billion in tobacco tax, an annual EUR 20 billion remain, which non-smokers also have to pay for.

The weakest link in this murderous chain, after the environment, are the children. Every second one of them has to grow up in a nicotine-contaminated home and is often damaged for life. Forcing children to smoke is violence against children, which also deprives them of their basic rights.

The damage to health is scientifically and empirically proven and has not been questioned internally by the tobacco industry for decades, as secret records from the companies prove. It is therefore time to place the forced smoking of children under the same legal protection as physical violence against children.

Pro Rauchfrei has therefore set itself the goal of enforcing the right of children to a smoke-free upbringing in addition to smoke-free restaurants and the right of people to live in smoke-free homes.

[1] Paditz E. (2003) Konsenspapier SID-Prävention in Deutschland, Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde, 151, 315-317 und California Environmental Protection Agency (1997) Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. California Environmental
Protection Agency, Sacramento, California und Schlaud M., Kleemann WJ Poets CF et al. (1996). Smoking during pregnancy and poor antenatal care: two major preventable risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. International Journal of Epidemiology, 25, 959-965

[2] University of Hamburg, Institute for Law and Economics, 2010