• May 20, 2024

Call for advertising ban

A new petition from SumOfUs, an international consumer group, is urging the German government to ban outdoor cigarette advertisements.
The group issued a press note yesterday saying that children who regularly saw tobacco advertisements were twice as likely to start smoking as those who didn’t.
It said that, because of the effect they had on children, tobacco billboards had been banned in every country of the EU, except Germany.
Today, advertisements for regular and electronic cigarettes could be placed anywhere in Germany, including near or next to schools.
In a preamble to a petition, the group said that parliamentarians of the centre-right CDU/CSU parties knew how deadly effective these advertisements were but preferred to keep tobacco corporations and their lobbyists happy than keep children safe.
The group said, however, that dissent was brewing in the German government, and that the federal drug commissioner had recently spoken in favour of a ban. By gathering as much public support as possible, there was ‘a real chance of getting a vote on the table – and winning’.
Smoking was a serious problem in Germany, the group said, especially among young people. More than 110,000 ‘children’ smoked every day, ‘a higher rate than the European average’. ‘More and more of them are trying e-cigarettes, which Phillip Morris and co. promote as a cooler, healthier tobacco alternative,’ the group said in promoting the petition.
‘Smoking kills nearly 125,000 Germans every year. We can’t let Big Tobacco keep profiting off those deaths while continuing to sign up new recruits with its billboards. A couple of years ago, the German government almost banned the ads – including ads for e-cigarettes – but it got thwarted at the last minute.
‘Every other country in the EU has put its foot down. It’s time Germany did as well.
‘If the SumOfUs community comes together, we can show the holdouts in the German government that they’re on the wrong side of history. It worked earlier this year, when we convinced the EU commission to stand up to Bayer’s lobbyists and ban three of the worst bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. With tobacco corporations, we’re up against a $346 billion juggernaut – but as we’ve proven time and time again, our people power is stronger than the industry’s money.
‘We know that given enough public pressure, the CSU/CDU will start valuing kids’ health over the interests of Big Tobacco. It’s up to us to make the government go cold turkey on the lobbyists.’