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MPs push for national smoking ban

The Local · 26 May 2011, 09:31

Published: 26 May 2011 09:31 GMT+02:00

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“The Bundestag has the right expertise to adopt a nationally uniform law to protect people from the dangers of second-hand smoke,” said a statement from a parliamentary group spearheading the movement.

The initiative includes members of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the conservative Christian Democratic Union, the pro-business Free Democrats, the Greens and the socialist Left party.

Anti-smoking laws are perennial hot potatoes in Germany, where many people cling fiercely to their tradition of smoking cigars and cigarettes. But the tide may be turning against smokers.

A recent poll by the YouGov polling firm found that 65 percent of Germans would be in favor of a uniform federal law to replace state laws.

In 2007, the federal government adopted rules to ban smoking in public buildings, but an initiative for a national ban in bars and restaurants failed. The government then declared that responsibility for smoking laws lies with individual states.

But the bans instituted in many German states have been poorly received and often ignored. In some cases, courts have ruled that they are unconstitutional.

The parliamentary group has pointed to the federal government’s responsibility for health and safety and argued that the “patchwork” of laws needs to be replaced by national uniformity.

Story continues below…

Planning of the law remains in the early stages. The group is currently consulting experts.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:24 May 26, 2011 by mike_1983
germany get with the times...... this is probably the only area germany is totally behind the western world. go to australia, you cannot even smoke on many beaches!!!
10:34 May 26, 2011 by Angry Ami
What, are you trying to be America, leave it alone Angie!
12:00 May 26, 2011 by Barry James
When cigarettes are finally banned, what will be banned next? What will happen to all those unelected people who get paid to tell us what to do? Will they be moved to the next 'government banning'. What will politicians have to rale against for a quick distraction?

Smoking is a dirty unhealthy habit, but it is still legal. Incidentally, I don't smoke.

@mike_1983. We in Australia are sick of our 'Nanny Government'. With three tiers of government, Federal, State and Local, we are over regulated and over taxed.
12:58 May 26, 2011 by Gretl
I think European nations which are passing laws against smoking forget that the US took 25-30 years to get to where they are today. We didn't just pass a law against smoking. Consumers asked for non-smoking sections in restuarants. Once people got used to having non-smoking options, more people demanded the right to work without second-hand smoke. Eventually laws were put in place, expanding in scope over the decades. Adults in their thirties were aculturated to smoking outside. Many will not smoke in their own homes. Once, I went to dinner with other Americans who smoke (preban in DE) and the waiter, seeing cigarettes brought over an ashtray. However, the smokers stood up en masse and went outside so as not to bother others. I can't imagine being a German, Italian or British smoker and waking up one day to the smoking ban. It is a cultural shift, a journey, not cold turkey. My heart goes out to my German smoking colleagues.
15:43 May 26, 2011 by catjones
@Gretl... my LUNGS go out to your German smoking colleagues.
20:34 May 26, 2011 by steffsteff
I really cannot understand what makes those people smoke. I mean it's such an ugly thing, it causes health problems and costs a lot of money. If you are waiting in front of traffic lights and look out of your window down to the street you will probably see 30 or even more cigaretts lying there...that's disgusting.

I am pro a uniform law because there shouldn't be differences among the states.

Smokers can smoke their cigaretts wherever they want...but not in public buildings, restaurants, bars and clubs.

When there was a uniform law people would accept it, but as long as there are differences some will feel treated unfairly.
21:09 May 26, 2011 by jg.
"I really cannot understand what makes those people smoke"

21:21 May 26, 2011 by steffsteff
Not what keeps them going on, but what makes them start...
23:17 May 26, 2011 by willowsdad
"Smokers can smoke their cigaretts (sic) wherever they want...but not in public buildings, restaurants, bars and clubs."

Well, Steffsteff, which is it?

BTW, people smoke because it's relaxing and enjoyable.

Why on earth would you want to emulate America, or Australia or any other intolerant Anglo-Saxon puritan state? What's wrong with having a choice of smoking and non-smoking bars?
00:48 May 27, 2011 by Gretl
I am not a smoker, but I am familiar with addiction. I have no problem with smoking vs. non-smoking sections, or bars allowing smoking. If someone told me I had to give up my addicition tomorrow, I'd have serious issues, too.
06:14 May 27, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
Here we go again! Those willfully ignorant among us will not understand the difference between a smoking ban and the prohibition of smoking inside enclosed public spaces, and the really willfully ignorant will continue to insist on their "right" to smoke. Smokers, accept the new law and drop the hysterics. It is not going to ruin civilization (personally, I don't care if you are inconvenienced by this law). You can still smoke at home. And soon enough, the German population will be a little bit healthier because non-smokers won't be forced to breath your filth.
14:03 May 27, 2011 by steffsteff
That´s exactly what I think and what I tried to say.
22:12 May 27, 2011 by zeddriver
That's funny @ Willowsdad. I thought the USA over the last few years was trying to emulate the socialist utopia nanny states of Europe. Not the other way around.

We in America "USED" to be the land of the free. But our politicians saw the power they gained by more & more regulations that the folks have to follow. Want to smoke? Pay up. Then we might let you smoke. Want to put up a garden shed in your back yard? Get a special permit from the government. And after you have submitted an environmental impact study signed by the sierra club.

Our politicians got the idea of more intrusive government from Europe.
00:46 May 28, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
According to the Australian National Drug Research Centre in 2003 , drugs kill 7 million people world-wide each year, the breakdown being 5 million (from smoking), 1,6 million (from alcohol) and 0.2 million (from illicit drugs). In Germ,any 120,000 people die each year from smoking-related causes and the attendant cost in medical care and lost work days is about $20 billion. This national disaster is heavily attributed to Germany's relatively lax anti-smoking laws.

Another way of costing this carnage is from the US EPA risk avoidance-based valuation of a US$6.9 million per human life leading to an estimate of the annual cost of smoking in Germany of US$6.9 million per person x 120,000 deaths = US$ 0.83 trillion= US$830 billion.

Germany needs to stop smoking. Since prohibition may not work an alternative approach would be confining purchases to pharmacies (as with methadone programs for opiate addicts) and cost recovery from all those profiting from killing 120,000 Germans each year through selling tobacco.

It must be noted that Germany spends circa $1 billion each year trashing tio national reputation by assisting the war-criminal US Alliance in Afghanistan (post-invasion violent deaths total 1.2 million, avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation total 3.8 million, under-5 infant deaths total 2.7 million ans refugees total 3-4 million - an Afghan Holocaust and an Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the Geneva Convention),

Yet the pre-invasion Taliban Government for all their faults had the most stringent anti-drugs policies of any government in the world, banning alcohol, banning smoking for government employees in 1997 and banning opium production in 2000 (wiping out 94% of the opium industry by 2001). Yet Merkel's support for the war-criminal US alliance in Afghanistan is aimed at wiping out the Taliban whose policies would have saved the lives of circa 170,000 Germans every year. One notes that American restoration of the Taliban-destroyed opium industry from 6% of world market share in 2001 to 76% in 2002 and 94% today kills about 700 Germans each year (and about 100,000 people world-wide). .

Germany should seriously curb smoking that kills 120,000 Germans every year - equivalent every 5 years to the upper estimate of 600,000 Germans killed by bombing of German cities by the Allies in WW2. Germany should also quit the war criminal, genocidal US Alliance that deliberately and knowingly kills about 700 German opiate users each year.
10:20 May 28, 2011 by notelove2
for one thing, the bars could have much better smoke extraction systems. A lot of bars have suffered from the public not turning up because they can't smoke.
22:34 May 28, 2011 by willowsdad
Okie: Glad to hear you don't care about my convnenience. That means I don't have to care about yours either. The hysteria comes from the anitsmoking (and anti-everything) lobby (see DrGideonPolya's spew below). FYI the German population is already longer-lived than the populations of America or Britain. And the longest lived are the Japanese, who have one of the highest smoking rates in the world. The Greeks, who've also resisted this nonsense, are also up there in life expectancy.

Gretl: I don't intend to be reformed in tiny baby steps or reformed at all without my consent.

Zeddriver: You mean the Europe of universal health care and decriminalized soft drugs? As if. Nanny states are the dark side of the "socialist utopia" and thus make them socialist dystopias. No, it's the US that gave the world alcohol Prohibition and the War on Drugs and now the War on Smoking (preceded of course by Nazi Germany). For all our alleged freedom, we're a pretty tight-assed society and lately, very easily frightened.

Dr Polya: yeah, that'll work: smokers will report to special government clinic for their fix and gladly bear the stigma of beign referred to as addicts. They wouldn't dream of turning to the black market, now, would they?

Do you really think the Taliban are good guys???
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