Protection of Minors

Protection of minors
Smoking in the car

We do not want children and teenagers to smoke or vape.

The protection of children and minors is a top priority for the German Association of the Tobacco Industry and New Products (BVTE), its member companies and associations.

Current Situation

Smoking Rate

The smoking rate among children and adolescents has dropped from 27.5% in 2001 to 6.6% today (source: Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), September 2019).

The number of e-cigarette consumers among minors is even lower: 1.7% of young people vaped in 2019 (source: DEBRA study).

Supporting Retailers

The German Cigarette Association (Deutsche Zigarettenverband - DZV), a member of the BVTE, has provided youth protection stickers (“Under 18 No Tobacco Products / E-Cigarettes”) free of charge to retailers since 2013. To date, over a million such “stop signs” have been distributed in stores. By affixing the sticker, the retailers signal both to their customers and to the public that the protection of minors is strictly observed in their shops. Find out more here. (in German)

In addition, the DZV offers the web-based education programme “Protection of minors in tobacco and e-cigarette trade”, which is specially tailored to the needs of retailers. This multimedia learning programme informs about the legal basis and gives practical examples as well as arguments to use when dealing with young customers who want to buy tobacco products or e-cigarettes. Click here for the education programme (in German).

Responsible Marketing

The manufacturers of tobacco products are aware of their special responsibility in marketing their products. The decision for or against the consumption of tobacco should only be made by informed adults who are aware of the health risks.

In Germany, cigarette manufacturers subjected themselves to voluntary self-restriction in advertising in 1966 and since then have supplemented and refined this commitment several times.

The Advertising Code (in German) of the DZV member companies recognized by the Federal Cartel Office ensures through consistent standards that children and adolescents must not be the target group of tobacco advertising and marketing and that the risks of smoking are not downplayed.

Advertising and marketing activities for e-cigarettes are subject to comparable requirements, particularly with regard to ensuring high youth protection standards. The BVTE member companies are therefore working on joint competition rules for marketing these products.


We support a consistent enforcement of the provisions of the Youth Protection Act. Children and adolescents must not buy tobacco products, e-cigarettes or other nicotine-containing products, and they must not be allowed to smoke or vape in public.

The key to an effective youth protection lies in the unavailability of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products for minors. We are committed to a strict compliance and consistent control of the statutory ban on selling such products to people under the age of 18. Only adults can consciously weigh possible health risks and decide for or against the consumption of these products.

The BVTE and its member companies support retailers in meeting this important obligation. Through responsible marketing of their products, the BVTE member companies also ensure that only adult consumers are addressed and the risks of consumption are not downplayed.

Legal Aspects

You can find all legal documents under “Regulations”.