German parliament restricts tobacco advertising

The German Bundestag (lower house of parliament) approved on late Thursday restrictions on smoking and a far-reaching ban on tobacco advertising in the country.

Starting next year, commercials for tobacco products in cinemas will only be allowed to be shown in films that are not aimed at under-18s. Distribution of free tobacco samples outside of specialty stores will also be banned from 2021.

Germany is the only country in the European Union (EU) that still allows outdoor tobacco advertising. The Bundestag’s approval of the ban is a “milestone” in tobacco prevention, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) commented.

The DKFZ noted that the advertising restrictions will also apply to tobacco heaters, electronic cigarettes and refillable containers, which is crucial in preventing tobacco use among minors.

Starting in 2022, a ban on tobacco advertising on outdoor surfaces, such as billboards or bus stops, will also be applied, although initially only for conventional tobacco products.

For tobacco heaters, the outdoor advertising ban is to take effect in 2023. One year later, outdoor advertising for electronic cigarettes will also be banned, according to the bill.