Last updated: January 7, 2022
Germany became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on March 16, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Under federal law, smoking is restricted in indoor workplaces and public places. Smoking areas may be permitted on means of transport where it is possible to have “physically separate units” (e.g., rail or passenger ships); however, smoking is prohibited on transport such as streetcars, trolleys, buses, and taxis. Sub-national laws apply at the Länder (state) level, and all 16 states have enacted laws restricting or banning smoking in places where states have authority. Sub-national laws may be more stringent than the national law.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Tobacco advertising is prohibited on TV, radio, internet, in most print publications, and in most outdoor places. Other types of print advertising, such as flyers, posters, signs, are not covered under the law. Point of sale advertising and promotion and product display are also allowed. Other types of promotional activity - such as brand stretching, promotional discounts, gifts and prizes, and retailer incentive programs - are not addressed in the law and therefore allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
For cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and waterpipe tobacco, rotating, combined picture and text health warnings must occupy 65 percent of the front and back of the package. For smokeless tobacco products, one text warning must occupy 30 percent of the front and back of the package. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law regulates specified contents in cigarettes, including banning characterizing flavors, ingredients that facilitate nicotine uptake, ingredients that may create an impression of health benefits, and ingredients associated with energy and vitality. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of single cigarettes, small packs of cigarettes, and tobacco for oral use. There are restrictions on the sale of tobacco products via vending machines, but no restrictions on the sale of tobacco products via the internet. The law does not restrict the sale of tobacco products based on location. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
In March 2007, Germany’s 16 Länder (states) concluded a framework agreement with the federal government, requiring states to adopt smoking regulations in the areas where states have authority - land, local institutions, educational facilities, healthcare facilities, cultural institutions, sport facilities, hospitality venues and other public places. All 16 states have passed laws restricting or banning smoking in indoor public places. Links to state laws can be found here: https://www.dkfz.de/de/tabakkontrolle/Laendergesetze.html.
At the federal level, smoking in indoor workplaces, indoor places, and public transport are governed by the Ordinance on Workplaces and the Law to Protect Against the Dangers of Passive Smoking (also known as the Federal Non-Smoker’s Protection Act). State (Länder) laws may be more protective, but not less protective, than federal law.
The Tobacco and Related Products Act (as amended) regulates advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco and related products, and includes penal and enforcement and monitoring provisions. The Act also authorizes regulations regarding packaging and labeling and tobacco product contents. The Tobacco and Related Products Ordinance (as amended) was issued under the Act and specifies prescribed health warning messages, prohibited additives, and notification and disclosure requirements. The Protection of Young Persons Act regulates numerous industries in relation to children and adolescents, including the sale of tobacco products, the prohibition on children and adolescents smoking in public places, the sale of tobacco products through vending machines, and the minimum legal sales age.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.