Germany: Paradise for the tobacco industry
In Germany, the tobacco companies cultivate a climate of cooperation; “Naturally, the German industry doesn’t live in a space free
of regulations, hostilities and threats, but with rigorous attention to detail they have built up a network of relationships to all segments of society and relaxed the market atmosphere here” (British American Tobacco advertisement in the party newspaper of the Social Democratic Party, SPD “Vorwärts“). Thus we are not surprised about the paradisiacal situation for the tobacco industry in Germany.
After massive protests from the Forum Rauchfrei i.e., publication of the internet papers of the tobacco industry and international pressure, politics in Germany has started to respond in the last few months. Whether a turnaround will actually come
about is still uncertain.
Friendship between the tobacco industry and politics in Germany:
The Pall Mall Foundation sees one of its major tasks to be the support of occupational training and a cosmopolitan attitude for young people. The Pall Mall Foundation’s journalist prize is intended to motivate the media and the public to support these goals. The “Pall Mall Initiative Job-Training” is accompanied by Prof. Dr. Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, Culture Minister of Sachsen- Anhalt, Dr. Matthias Rößler, and Dr. Kajo Schommer, Saxon State Minister ret., as patrons. Dr. Matthias Rößler and Dr. Kajo Schommer also assumed the patronage for the journalist prize 2002 the Pall Mall Foundation. Eberhard Diepgen (CDU), the governing mayor of Berlin
at that time, awarded the first journalist prize in 1992.
Results of the friendship:
Advertisement affecting young people
Not the government, but rather the tobacco industry controls the compliance with self commitments that forbid trying to influence young people or using arguments dealing with sport or health. Advertisements on posters in the streets and in movie theatres will still be allowed after the ban on advertising in magazines that was forced by the European Union and is expected for
With 60,000 cigarette machines, Germany is the world champion in uncontrolled sales of cigarettes. By January 1, 2007, cigarette machines are scheduled to be converted to chip cards, so that youths under 16 years of age can supposedly no longer obtain cigarettes. In the photo, the Drug Prevention Commissioner of the German Government, Sabine Bätzing, praised the still controversial chip cards during a press conference of the Federal Association of German Tobacco Product Wholesalers and Cigarette Machine Installers (Bundesverband Deutscher Tabakwaren- Großhändler and Automatenaufsteller) on May 12th 2006. The Forum Rauchfrei wrote a letter to her strongly advising against taking part on this press conference.
Demonstration of the Forum Rauchfrei 2005 for smoke-free restaurants in front of the restaurant „Sale e Tabacchi“: Learning from Italy means becoming smoke-free!The Forum Rauchfrei demands an extensive ban on cigarette advertisement, doing away with all cigarette machines, higher prices for all tobacco products, legal bans on smoking at the workplace, in restaurants, schools, universities, children’s leisure facilities, trains, sport facilities, cultural facilities and in public administrations. Forum Rauchfrei (Smoke Free Forum) was founded in Berlin in May 2000. Its members come from schools, hospitals, universities, health insurance companies, industry and district administrations as well as the administration of the Berlin Senate. Unaffiliated individuals joined Forum Rauchfrei. The members promote the rights of non-smokers, and they undertake critical evaluations of the
tobacco companies and smoking in general. There are also links with other domestic and foreign non-smoking oriented NGO’s.