Non-smoker protection encompasses measures that effectively protect people who do not smoke from tobacco smoke. The BVTE supports plausible measures that enable smokers and non-smokers to be considerate with one another.
German Federal Protection
of Non-Smokers Act
After a decision by the Federal Council on 11 October 2019, the federal states introduced a bill to amend the German Federal Protection of Non-Smokers Act (Bundesnichtraucherschutzgesetz - BNichtrSchG ) in the German Parliament, which is intended to ban smoking in private cars when children or pregnant women are in the car.
In its statement, the Federal Government points out that since the start of the „rauchfrei unterwegs“ initiative (“Travelling Smoke-Free”) by the drug commissioner in 2016, the proportion of people who smoke in vehicles in the presence of minors has halved from 4% to 2%. In addition, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed that smoking in the presence of children and adolescents has decreased significantly in general since 2003. The Federal Government wants to examine whether there is a need for further legislative action beyond the existing preventive measures.
The BVTE advocates a regulation of smoking in public places and supports plausible measures that enable a considerate coexistence of smokers and non-smokers. We support smoking bans in public places such as offices, hospitals and universities, where smokers and non-smokers are forced to be in closed rooms at the same time. We are in favour of voluntarily establishing separate smoking areas there.
We believe that a respectful coexistence of smokers and non-smokers in all places is possible without extensive bans by the state. In publicly accessible buildings and rooms, we support an appropriate separation of smoking and non-smoking areas. This includes in particular the catering industry with restaurants, bars and pubs. The millions of adult smokers must be able to consume tobacco products in places where they feel comfortable.
We think it is right not to smoke when driving in a private car in the presence of children and adolescents. We are convinced that preventive educational measures have a wider impact than bans that are difficult to enforce.
With the adoption of the law on the protection against the dangers of passive smoking, smoking has been prohibited in federal institutions such as public offices or authorities as well as in public transportation since 1 September 2007.
The legal right to a smoke-free workplace has been specified with the following amendment to the workplace regulation: “Where necessary, the employer must decree a general smoking ban or one that is restricted to individual areas of the workplace.”
Smoking bans in public buildings which fall within the competence of the 16 federal states (such as educational, cultural and health facilities) are regulated by the individual laws of these federal states.
In the federal system of Germany, smoking bans in the catering industry also fall within the regulatory scope of the federal states. The protection of non-smokers is largely regulated uniformly across 13 federal states and permits designated, separate smoking rooms and smoking restaurants that are smaller than 75 m². People under the age of 18 are not permitted here. In addition, serving meals is usually not allowed there.
In Bavaria, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia, smoking is strictly prohibited in catering facilities - both in separate adjoining rooms and in small one-room businesses.
- Ordinance on Workplaces as of 18 October 2017 (in German)
- Protection from the Dangers of Passive Smoking Act of 20 July 2007 (in German)