Why does the tobacco industry still exist?

Lobbyism vs. non-smoker protectionWhy Cigarette advertising in Germany always still Not forbidden is

In Germany, cigarettes are advertised on billboards, at bus stops or in the cinema. The German Medical Association has once again spoken out in favor of a ban. But: The tobacco industry says: We don't advertise non-smokers at all, only smokers.

According to the manufacturer, the aim of cigarette advertising should be to win over smokers for their own brand. Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Johannes Döbbelt, as a non-smoker, finds that the advertising messages with "have fun", "free", "wild" and "individual" definitely reach him. The messages address psychological needs, says Daniel Kotz, professor of addiction research at the University of Düsseldorf.

"These are messages that typically address the psychological needs of adolescents. They are about popularity, group membership, rebellion and all the things that play a role in these age groups."
Daniel Kotz, professor for addiction research at the University of Düsseldorf

Especially young people should be reached with the messages. In their age phase, it is all about personality development, popularity, group membership and rebellion, according to the addiction researcher. Scientific studies have shown that tobacco advertising appeals to adolescents and young adults and thereby tempts them to start smoking, says Daniel Kotz. Anyone who then begins to absorb nicotine with tobacco cannot stop later.

How the tobacco lobby asserts its interests in politics

Smoke harms the health. Everyone can read that on the cigarette packs. The Non-Smoking Protection Act has also existed since 2007 and 15 years ago Germany committed to implementing a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising - by 2010. Nothing has happened, although the majority of Germans - including smokers - are in favor of a ban on outdoor advertising for tobacco. And the German Medical Association is calling for a ban again.

"This is ultimately due to the strong influence of the tobacco lobby."
Daniel Kotz, professor for addiction research at the University of Düsseldorf

The fact that there is still cigarette advertising in Germany is due to the strong influence of the tobacco lobby, says Daniel Kotz. It consolidates this with lavish party donations, such as for the 2017 federal election: the CDU received 72,000 euros from the tobacco industry, and the SPD and FDP each received 15,000 euros. Even more money flowed through party sponsorship: the tobacco company Philipp Morris paid 500,000 euros in sponsorship money to various parties - most of it went to the CDU. The money was used for party conferences, annual celebrations, summer festivals and anniversary magazines.

Local politicians make money from cigarette advertising

And so it is not surprising that the CDU in particular is committed to ensuring that the advertising regulations for the tobacco industry remain relaxed. CDU local politicians are said to have campaigned for poster advertising to remain allowed at bus stops and advertising pillars. The reason: They are an important source of income for municipalities. Addiction researcher Daniel Kotz sees this as a contradiction. Municipalities are responsible for the health protection of their citizens and should not allow advertising for a product that is carcinogenic, he criticizes.

"That is such a pseudo-argument because as a municipality that is also responsible for health protection, you cannot support advertising that advertises a carcinogenic product."
Daniel Kotz, professor for addiction research at the University of Düsseldorf

In fact, according to the latest drug and addiction report by the federal government, the tobacco industry invests 98 percent of its advertising money in this outdoor advertising.

In the Union, too, more and more politicians seem to be in favor of a ban on advertising, so that cigarette advertising may be banned after all. But what about e-cigarettes? In a recently published joint study by the University of Mainz and the University of Harvard, the researchers warned against e-cigarettes, which can be an entry point to smoking, especially for young people. One of the researchers involved, Thomas Münzel from the Mainz University Hospital, therefore demands: E-cigarette advertising should also be banned.