North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein were to submit a proposal for discussion in the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament, on Friday.
It has been welcomed by doctors. President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, said a ban was long overdue.
Passive smoking “massively” damages health, particularly the health of unborn babies, children and adolescents, he said.
“It should be a matter of course not to smoke in their presence,” Reinhardt said. “Where this insight is lacking, the state has to intervene.”
The proposal would see the law for the protection of non-smokers changed. Violations of the law would result in fines of between €500 and €3,000.
The states want to see a nationwide ban.
After it is presented in the Bundesrat, the proposal will be discussed in committees. The goal is for the Bundesrat to introduce a bill in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.
Lower Saxony's health minister Carola Reimann, of the centre-left SPD, said: “The federal government must finally act and implement the corresponding regulations.”
Earlier this month, Karl-Josef Laumann, CDU health minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “Unborn babies and children cannot protect themselves from the dangers of passive smoking. This is why we need this smoking ban.”
Although there is broad support for the move, critics say a law could be difficult to enforce.
The Federal Ministry of Health has so far declined to comment on the proposal.
According to a study by the GfK Institute published recently, 90 percent of non-smokers and 80 percent of smokers in Germany support a ban on smoking in cars with children.
There are already similar laws in place in Italy, Greece, France, and the UK.
Smoking ban – (das) Rauchverbot
Passive smoking (das) Passivrauchen
Pregnant women – (die) Schwangere
Overdue – überfällig
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