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On July 7, German media group RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reports that German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is pushing for a ban.
This is a ban that would ban smoking cigarettes and vaping products in cars with children and pregnant women. The ban range covers cigarettes, vapes, heated tobacco products and cannabis.
Lauterbach’s draft will be presented at Cabinet meeting after it has been coordinated with other ministries, according to the RND and other media.
Smoking in cars is currently not illegal in Germany. The plan is part of a legalization proposal drafted by Lauterbach. It seeks to expand the existing Non-Smokers Protection Act.
According to the draft cited by the RND, the smoking ban already in place on public transport. It aims to “protect this vulnerable group from second-hand smoke”.
Smoking in cars has been shown to be associated with a higher risk due to the tight space. The draft states:
“According to confirmed studies, secondhand smoking also causes many serious illnesses and deaths, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sudden infant death syndrome,”
Numerous studies have also found a link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, Lauterbach said. Under the draft, the ban would apply to vaping products such as cigarettes, vape pens(e-cigarettes), heated tobacco products and marijuana.
A German government statement said the ban on smoking in cars with children would be “unconditionally welcomed”.
Similar bans are currently in place in Australia, France, South Africa, the UAE, and some states in the US. Since 2019, several German states have introduced initiatives to ban smoking and vaping in cars with children. Moreover, violations can result in fines of up to 3,000 euros.
The upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, decided in March 2022 to introduce a corresponding bill in the lower house, the Bundestag.
The German state of Lower Saxony once cited a report by the German Cancer Research Center stating that the concentration of smoke in a car may be “five times higher than in a bar environment”.