Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Shortfalls in Non-Smoker Protection in Baden-Württemberg

No. 37 | 26/06/2013 | by MPL/Sel

In the German state of Baden-Württemberg, seventy-one percent of pubs and bars, eighty-four percent of arcades, and ninety-two percent of discotheques are smoke-filled. Stuttgart, its state capital, ranks seventh in a comparison with eleven other German federal state capitals: Smoking is permitted in 32% of its catering establishments. Only four out of ten smoking establishments comply with legal regulations; one out of two violates relevant youth protection regulations. Doors between smoking rooms and non-smoking sections are often kept open, and in some cases there is not even a door. These are some results of the first state-wide evaluation of non-smoker protection in Baden-Württemberg.


In February 2013, several teams from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) took a look at 1,500 catering establishments in twelve cities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The study reveals large regional differences when it comes to the percentage of smoke-free establishments. While 81% of catering establishments were smoke-free in Konstanz, this was true only for 63% of establishments analyzed in Göppingen. In a comparison with eleven other German state capitals, Stuttgart ranks seventh with 68% of smoke-free catering establishments. Particularly in beverage establishments, indoor air is polluted with carcinogenic substances from tobacco smoke. “This is a serious and persisting health risk not only for patrons, but also for employees,” says Dr. Martina Pötschke-Langer, head of DKFZ’s Cancer Prevention Unit and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control, based at DKFZ.

A parallel study has revealed even more shortcomings: People smoked in 44 out of 48 discotheques studied; in three out of four cases, business owners violated regulations for non-smoker protection.

„In spite of many achievements that we have already made in non-smoker protection, there is still a lot to do. In our experience, it is in particular exemptions such as for smoking rooms, smoking pubs and bars or so-called smoking clubs that prevent complete non-smoker protection. This means that neither employees nor patrons of catering establishments are effectively protected from exposure to tobacco smoke pollution,” says Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Otmar Wiestler, Chairman of the Management Board and Scientific Director of DKFZ.

The governing political parties that were elected in March 2011 stated in their coalition agreement that they would “consistently develop” non-smoker protection in Baden-Württemberg. The results of the evaluation study show that it is high time they put this plan into practice. The German Cancer Research Center therefore appeals to the Baden-Württemberg state government to follow the example of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland by eliminating current exemptions for smoking pubs and bars and smoking rooms.

Background information: The Baden-Württemberg state non-smoker protection act was enforced on August 1, 2007. It prohibits smoking in government offices, hospitals, nursing homes, educational and cultural establishments as well as in sports facilities and catering establishments. An amendment enforced in 2009 permits owners of catering establishments in Baden-Württemberg to designate a second room as smoking room or declare the whole establishment as smoking establishment, provided that the only guest room available is smaller than 75m2 and that only “simple, cold food for consumption on the spot is served.”

Nichtraucherschutz in Baden-Württemberg: Gesetzeslücken und Schadstoffbelastung durch Tabakrauch (Non-smoker protection in Baden-Württemberg: Legal loopholes and tobacco smoke pollution

Mangelhafter Nichtraucherschutz und Gesetzesverstöße in Diskotheken in Baden-Württemberg (Shortfalls in non-smoker protection and legal violations in discotheques in Baden-Württemberg

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Tumour Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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