Germany Drags Feet on European Tobacco Ad Ban

05 August 2005

An EU-wide directive banning tobacco advertising has hit the dust in Germany. The European Commission in Brussels required member states to pass by the end of July national legislation prohibiting advertising of tobacco products in print, broadcast and online media.

Despite the expiry of the deadline, the ban has yet to make its way past the Bundesrat, Germany's upper parliamentary house, which represents the interests of the federal states and is dominated by parties opposing the Social Democrat government.

Speaking for the government, Hertha Däubler-Gmelin, head of the parliamentary committee for consumer protection, criticized the Christian Democratic opposition party for threatening to vote against a government bill to implement the directive and accused it of "blockade politics".

CDU spokesman Hartmut Nassauer defended his party's stance, arguing that legislation on health issues is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the EU-member states. Although favoring measures to protect non-smokers, "the issue has to be decided on in Germany alone," said Nassauer.

Elsewhere within the EU, most member states have already transmuted the Brussels policy directive into national law. Some including Italy, Ireland and Sweden, have gone even further and introduced a general ban on smoking in all public spaces.

Lawmakers in France have proposed a similar law - although the Czech senate recently defeated legislation banning smoking in public buildings.

Data sourced from Deutsche Welle (Germany); additional content by WARC staff