Our successes

Through its persistent and targeted lobbying, Pro Rauchfrei e.V. has had a significant impact on the protection of non-smokers in Germany. Our successes include:


Shortly after our association was founded, some of our activists set to work: on New Year’s Eve, huge stickers adorned tobacco vending machines with the slogan “Every cigarette machine is a silent killer”.


The talk show “3 nach 9” becomes smoke-free after Pro Rauchfrei’s large-scale mail campaign. This prompted other TV shows to also become smoke-free.


A study by Pro Rauchfrei proves that the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the DeHoGa (German Hotel and Restaurant Association) is not working. Chairman Ermer convinces the Federal Government’s Drugs Commissioner Bätzing of this fact in a television discussion.


By publishing confidential documents, Pro Rauchfrei reveals that the templates for non-smoker protection laws were taken verbatim from the tobacco industry, spelling mistakes and formatting included.


The Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner Bätzing confirms the figures from the Pro Rauchfrei study with her own study. As a result, the Federal Ministry of Health cancels the agreement of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DeHoGa), in which the association had voluntarily committed to reserving up to 50% of seats in 90% of all restaurants for non-smokers in stages.


Pro Rauchfrei exposes the then President of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff, for accepting undue advantage in office and corruption. The President accepts improvements to non-smoker protections as a result.


The chairman of Pro Rauchfrei urged the chairmen of the ÖDP and the Grüne in Bavaria to initiate a referendum for genuine non-smoker protection without exceptions.


The referendum starts. The board and the other members of Pro Rauchfrei are intensively involved in the organization and public relations work. In consultation with the alliance partners, the board of Pro Rauchfrei focuses on Franconia and the CSU.


The referendum is won! Erlangen is the most successful large city, Middle Franconia the most successful district.


Thanks to the consistent and persistent efforts of Pro Rauchfrei, the Rheinbahn finally gives in and the Heinrich-Heine-Passage in Düsseldorf becomes smoke-free.


Pro Rauchfrei presents a legal opinion according to which smoking in the talk show “Roche & Böhmermann” is not covered by artistic freedom. The same applies to the “Stuckrad Nightlight Show” on ZDFneo.


Pro Rauchfrei carries out educational and lobbying work in preparation for the non-smoker protection law in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Pro Rauchfrei’s press release about the association’s supervisory complaint against the district administrator of the Rhine district of Neuss, who does not want to take action against his old party colleague Napp, mayor of Neuss, who smokes in his office, has received a nationwide press response. The nickname “Vesuvius of Neuss”, coined by Pro Rauchfrei, gains popularity.

June 2013

The Düsseldorf district government agrees with Pro Rauchfrei on the matter and instructs District Administrator Petrauschke to take appropriate measures to prevent the unlawful use of the office by the Mayor of Neuss. Result: a separate smoking room is set up in the town hall and the mayor’s office must remain smoke-free in future.

July 2013

After reading a newspaper article about the reptile sanctuary at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, a member of Pro Rauchfrei successfully campaigned for the office of a chain-smoking veterinarian to remain smoke-free, as it also houses numerous terrariums/cages.

November 2013

The operator of a large nightclub in Rosenheim has to go to court following a complaint from Pro Rauchfrei about permanent violations of non-smoker protection in his establishment, where he is told that a landlord is responsible for complying with the GSG. As a result, he has to present the court with a plan for complying with the law going forward, and withdraw the banning of a non-smoker individual.

May 2014

Pro Rauchfrei may continue to accuse a SAT1 news program of judgmental reporting. The producer of the program “17.30 SAT1.NRW”, WestCom Medien GmbH from Dortmund, wanted to prohibit Pro Rauchfrei from making these and several other statements in a press release under threat of a fine of 250,000 euros or six months’ imprisonment. In the court hearing before the Munich I Regional Court on May 8, 2014, Pro Rauchfrei was found to be right on 7 out of 8 points. The program we objected to had already been deleted from the media offering.

May 2014

Pro Rauchfrei runs a campaign to promote World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. The campaign runs well into June. Large posters advertise non-smoking and Pro Rauchfrei nationwide. Our 4 core principles can be seen for 10 days or longer at 104 locations throughout Germany, with a focus on North Rhine-Westphalia and in the vicinity of schools.

June 2014

In collaboration with Pro Rauchfrei, Wohnungsgenossenschaft Halle-Süd e.G. starts building Germany’s first smoke-free rental housing complex. The apartments are oversubscribed several times before the ground-breaking ceremony.

July 2014

Pro Rauchfrei prevents “Ratingen Smokers’ Mile”. Following a request from the association to the district of Mettmann for a legal assessment of the permanent extensions approved by the city of Ratingen for smoking guests, the basis for the “smokers’ mile” already celebrated in the press has been removed. The city’s actions in this matter will be monitored by the district as a result.

August 2014

Associations may no longer simultaneously invite the public to its general meetings and describe the event as a private event at which smoking is permitted. The city of Sollingen did initially not sanction this rule, despite repeated complaints. Pro Rauchfrei escalated the issue to the Düsseldorf district government (responsible for monitoring compliance) which remediated the problem.

October 2014

At a press conference in Stuttgart, Pro Rauchfrei forces Health Minister Altpeter to publish an unpleasant and previously covered-up evaluation of non-smoker protection in Baden-Württemberg, which exposes significant non-compliance in restaurants. The association’s press releases and repeated complaints create clarity and yield enactment of new regulations intended to support the authorities in their implementation.

December 2014

Following the personal intervention of a Pro Rauchfrei board member, the completely covered inner courtyard of a well-known Munich pub becomes smoke-free, narrowly avoiding an official complaint.

January 2015

Pro Rauchfrei supports the company SAP in its transition to completely smoke-free premises.

April 2015

Pro Rauchfrei reports 39 restaurants in Braunschweig for multiple violations of the Lower Saxony Non-Smoker Protection Act. The fines office then initiates numerous proceedings.

June 2015

Following a complaint from Pro Rauchfrei about the inadequate no-smoking signage on municipal playgrounds in Monheim-am-Rhein, the authorities add more signposts in 65 playgrounds where smoking is prohibited by law.

August 2015

Pro Rauchfrei files charges against 64 restaurants in Karlsruhe, in some cases for multiple violations of the local non-smoker law. The Karlsruhe public order office conducts an inspection of the aforementioned restaurants.

September 2015

Thanks to a successful complaint by Pro Rauchfrei to the government of Upper Franconia, a completely covered restaurant courtyard in Bamberg is classified as a public space and compliance with non-smoker protection is guaranteed again.

September 2015

An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in July 2015 reports that the municipality of Weichs in the district of Dachau has lifted the statutory smoking ban on a primary school campus by resolution of the local council. By lodging a complaint with the responsible local authority, Pro Rauchfrei succeeds in getting the local council to repeal its decision and implement non-smoking protection on the school grounds.

April 2016

Pro Rauchfrei works together with the government of Upper Franconia and the police to enforce the smoking ban in a restaurant in Bamberg.

July 2016

Following complaints about tobacco vending machines and tobacco advertising near schools in Upper Bavaria, some vending machines are removed by the companies installing them and in one case Pro Rauchfrei is given the opportunity to “counter-advertise” near a Munich grammar school with its own Citylight poster.

March 2017

Pro Rauchfrei is added to the qualified list under the Injunctions Act, which gives it the right to bring collective action – the result of years of effort.

June 2017

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the City of Karlsruhe is ordered to provide Pro Rauchfrei with information on its processing of the association’s numerous complaints. The court costs are to be reimbursed by the city to Pro Rauchfrei, but this will only take place after an additional court order, costing the taxpayer another 440 euros.

November 2017

At FC Bayern’s annual general meeting, a Pro Rauchfrei board member once again proposed the introduction of a smoking ban at the Allianz Arena. After a spontaneous poll of members, the management promised to deal with the request. Result: from the 2018/19 season onwards, smoking is to be banned from the venue’s entrance.

December 2017

In the first year of its legal standing, Pro Rauchfrei issued 21 warnings: 6 of these were recognized and signed, 6 were confirmed by the courts, one case (concealment of warning signs in Edeka supermarkets) has not yet been concluded, the others have either been postponed or are still pending.

February 2018

Pro Rauchfrei obtains a temporary injunction in Lower Saxony, in which for the first time a landlord who has both smoking and non-smoking rooms is prohibited from allowing smoking in his main dining room.

June 2018

In a case of non-smoker rights violations in a club in Berlin, Pro Rauchfrei prompts the regional court to adopt a position. The court decides that the Berlin Non-Smoker Protection Act, specifically §2, is a consumer protection law, as it establishes behavioral obligations of consumers, the violation of which harms the collective interests of consumers. This result is unprecedented and groundbreaking.

July 2018

Pro Rauchfrei board members meet with representatives of the drugs enforcement agency and Deutsche Bahn at the company headquarters to promote non-smoker protection issues.

December 2018

Of the 21 warnings issued, 11 were recognized and signed, 5 were confirmed by the courts, one case was closed and the rest are still pending.

Pro Rauchfrei’s consumer protection department reports violations of non-smoker rights legislation and other legal issues relating to protection against passive smoking. It deals with up to 100 cases a year, some of which are very extensive.

Everyone who turns to Pro Rauchfrei has the right to legal support, especially the members of the association, who also receive fast and in-depth advice during disputes.

Non-smoking legislation requires that citizens help the authorities in their task to enforce compliance. Pro Rauchfrei embodies this, and many letters of thanks from public order offices from all parts of the country prove that it is working. The association provides public offices with considerable support and helps citizens enjoy a smoke-free life.