Tobacco Control July 2021 – Volume 30 – 4 GERMANY:
RISK ASSESSMENT GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL JOINS TOBACCO INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
The revolving door from government to the tobacco industry and its allies is a familiar story to long-time tobacco industry watchers. The benefit to the industry is obvious: former government officials bring with them knowledge of the inner workings of policy making and key decision-makers. As the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3 increasingly prevents the tobacco industry from having a seat at the policy making table, employing former policy makers and other government officials to carry the industry message and gather intelligence is a useful alternative avenue for facilitating industry policy influence. In Germany, PhD chemist Frank Henkler-Stephanie worked for the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) for more than a decade.
The BfR is an agency within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture responsible for all scientific aspects of consumer protection. During his employment, Dr Henkler-Stephanie was involved in the authorisation of tobacco products, tobacco heaters, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products. From May 1st 2021 he will be a senior director for harm reduction at the German Association of the Tobacco Industry and New Products (BVTE). According to the association he will be responsible for risk reduction for innovative products. As part of this role, it is anticipated that he will contribute to advocating for BVTE’s interests to policy makers. Among the members of BVTE are British American Tobacco, Reemtsma and Japan Tobacco.
Germany’s Forum Rauchfrei expressed serious concern about the appointment, stating ‘Mr Henkler-Stephanie must surely know that from now on he will be the puppet of an association, the members of which are co-responsible for 120000 yearly deaths in Germany. With Mr. Henkler-Stephanie the BVTE has bought a lobbyist to make itself look like a legitimate stakeholder and to have a door-opener for administrative and political decision makers’.
Dr Henkler-Stephanie is not the first ‘door opener’ at BVTE. The organisation’s general manager, Jan Mücke, is the former parliamentary manager of the German Bundestag’s liberal party group, and until 2013 was the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing. He is also general manager of the German Cigarette Association (DZV). In this function he succeeded Marianne Tritz, who is a former member of the German Bundestag for Germany’s Green Party Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen.
We would like to join all in expressing our grief on receiving the information on the death of Dr. Tabaré Vazquez. We still remember meeting him on his visit to Berlin in 2017, he gave us so much hope then. He showed us how the fight against the tobacco industry could be won. Johannes Spatz, speaking for all members of Forum Rauchfrei
Tobacco Retailers in Germany hiding health warnings
Tobacco retailers in Germany are more and more using so-called “product cards”, small cards made from cardboard or plastic in most cases provided by tobacco manufacturers, to hide the packs in the shelves behind the counter so the health warnings are not visible
The Tobacco Products Directive however calls for the visibility of the health warnings when tobacco products are placed on the market: “Member States shall ensure that the health warnings on a unit packet and any outside packaging are irremovably printed, indelible and fully visible, including not being partially or totally hidden or interrupted by tax stamps, price marks, security features, wrappers, jackets, boxes, or other items, when tobacco products are placed on the market.”
The Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture which is in charge of ruling tobacco products in Germany states that this is illegal but says also that local authorities must examine case by case if the law is violated or not. The cigarette manufacturers’ association says it’s legal to hide the warnings as the TPD regulates products and not the way they are presented.
Forum Rauchfrei has asked the ministry to clarify the situation and to inform retailers about the illegality of hiding health warnings when presenting tobacco products. Meanwhile we have reported numerous violations to authorities in several German cities.
Worldwide protest against tobacco trade fair in Dortmund
Open letter to North Rhine-Westphalia’s premier Hannelore Kraft
Many renowned physicians as well as German and international medical associations today addressed North Rhine-Westphalia’s premier Hannelore Kraft in an open letter, asking her to see to the shut-down of the world’s biggest tobacco trade fair “InterTabac” in the German city of Dortmund, which is to begin on September 16th. The open letter was started off by Forum Rauchfrei, Transparency International Germany and the Cancer Advice Center and Contact Point for Healthcare Self-Help Groups in Aachen.
Among the co-signatories from North Rhine-Westphalia are:
• Dr. med. Burkhard Lawrenz, chairman of the Association of Children and Adolescent Physicians in Westfalen-Lippe
• Prof. Dr. Bernd Bertram, board member of the Medical Association North Rhine
• Prof. Dr. Dirk Schadendorf, director of the West German Tumor Center, Essen
• Dr. med. Helmut Weber, MR a. D., regional chairman of the Protection League of Non-Smokers North Rhine-Westphalia
• Prof. Dr. Oliver Razum, dean of the Department of Public Health, University of Bielefeld
In a letter to Forum Rauchfrei the president of the Medical Association Saarland, Dr. Josef Mischo, agreed that the organization of a trade fair is “counterproductive” to the effort to curb the use of tobacco.
Dr. Theodor Windhorst, president of the Medical Association Westfalen-Lippe, had already called for an end of “InterTabac” last year. In a letter to North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister he wrote: “In my view an event like InterTabac is contradicting the aim to protect non-smokers.”
“This tobacco trade fair brings endless suffering to the world,” says Johannes Spatz, physician and spokesman of Forum Rauchfrei. “It is the state’s duty to fight tobacco consumption and cancer. But by organizing this promotional event it achieves the opposite,” he says. As owner of the Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH the city is directly responsible for promoting the use of tobacco.
“The conflict of interest becoming manifest with the tobacco trade fair must be made transparent and be brought to an end,” says Dr. Angela Spelsberg, head of Transparency International Germany’s workgroup on public health. She adds: “By authorizing the tobacco trade fair in Dortmund the state of North Rhine-Westphalia clearly violates the world’s first global health agreement “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)”, which Germany joined in 2004.”
“Dortmund’s mayor and North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister have both denied the responsibility for the trade fair up to this day,” says Spatz. “We shall see if the premier will do the same.” The fact that the city of Dortmund is offensively marketing products from which according to WHO six million people die each year is a full-blown scandal.
At international level representatives of numerous health science and tobacco control organizations have participated in the protest. Among them are Michael Moore, president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations and Laurent Huber, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), one of the leading non-governmental tobacco control organizations of the world.
Forum Rauchfrei has already announced a protest rally in front of Dortmund’s Westfalenhallen for September 17th. Until then a response from the premier is expected.
Forum Rauchfrei congratulates Uruguay’s president Tabaré Vázquez
In a letter to the president of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, Forum Rauchfrei offered congratulations on the country’s victory over tobacco giant Philip Morris and thanked president Vázquez for his longstanding and unfailing efforts in the field of tobacco control.
His Excellency , Tabaré Vázquez, President of the Republic of Uruguay
we would very much like to congratulate you on Uruguay’s victory over tobacco giant Philip Morris and to express our deeply felt joy about the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes’ decision in favour of your country and in favour of the protection of the health and lives of the Uruguayan people.
We feel grateful for your country’s fight for a decision, which will doubtlessly have worldwide consequences. Without your determination and endurance with regard to fighting the tobacco epidemic, this victory would not have been possible.
We very much hope that other countries will now follow Uruguay’s example to put the interests of their own people above the interests of the tobacco industry. We especially hope that German politicians, too, will see this event as a turning point. Contemplating our more than fifteen years of working in the field of tobacco control in Germany we must sadly say that we are in great need of a statesman who is willing to fight for a tobacco free world as much as you are.
Johannes Spatz Spokesman of Forum Rauchfrei
Cigarette company JTI intends to take legal action against Johannes Spatz
Cigarette company Japan Tobacco International Germany (JTI) is threatening to take legal action against Forum Rauchfrei’s spokesman Johannes Spatz, in case he doesn’t confirm in writing, no longer to damage the company’s advertising bills. Spatz is also to take a picture off Forum Rauchfrei’s homepage. The picture shows Spatz tampering with a poster advertising JTI’s cigarette brand Camel.
The text on the website below the picture reads: ”Tobacco ads banned? No chance. Outdoor advertising for tobacco products will be allowed in Germany until the year 2020. All the other European countries abide by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which bans tobacco advertising. We lend a helping hand to politics with a spring cleaning.”
The deadline, which the company has set for submitting a declaration of cease and desist, is ending today. “I will not give in to the tobacco company’s demands”, Johannes Spatz states. In his view a tobacco company, advertising a product from which 121,000 people in Germany die each year, should be held responsible rather than a person protesting against such ads.
“According to Germany’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Act tobacco advertising should have been banned in 2010”, Spatz says. At the same time he criticizes the federal minister for food and agriculture, who is responsible for Germany’s new Tobacco Products Act. The draft bill for this act included a ban on outdoor advertising for 2016. The ban was then postponed until 2020. According to Spatz this delay is completely unjustified. It is exclusively caused by pressure from tobacco lobbyists to whom the government once again condescended.
If a company with a turnover of more than half a billion USD each year presses charges over one damaged advertising bill, this clearly shows how raw their nerves are with regard to an impending advertising ban. “I am looking forward to the announced court proceedings”, says Spatz.
Forum Rauchfrei appeals to Governor of Jakarta: Stop Upcoming Tobacco Trade fair!
Forum Rauchfrei, a tobacco control organization in Germany, today appealed to the governor of Jakarta, to stop the upcoming tobacco trade fair “WT Process and Machinery” in Jakarta. The trade fair, which is planned for April 27th-28th, is the resumption of “World Tobacco Asia 2012” under a new name.
“Organizers of the trade fair are trying to mislead the public,” states Johannes Spatz, spokesman of Forum Rauchfrei. “In 2014 the fair could not be held in Indonesia due to public protests. Now they want to sneak back in. We strongly appeal to the governor of Jakarta, not to let this happen,” says Spatz.
According to the World Health Organization, the consumption of tobacco will cause 6,000,000 premature deaths worldwide this year alone. As smoking prevalence is declining in western countries, the tobacco industry is trying to open up new markets in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region. It is trying to use Indonesia as its basis for this.
In February 2014 a German company tried to hold a tobacco trade fair called “Intertabac ASIA” in Bali. At that time the organizers wanted to open up the growing Indonesian market for cigarette makers. The trade fair had to be cancelled on short notice due to massive international protest initiated by Forum Rauchfrei.
WT Process and Machinery would bring back a platform for marketing tobacco products in Indonesia, products which kill every second consumer when used as intended. As Germany is the largest exporter of these products worldwide, Forum Rauchfrei feels a special responsibility for trying to prevent this.
New tobacco control law: Little to celebrate in Germany
On February 25th the German Parliament (Bundestag) approved a bill on implementing the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD 2) in Germany. There is little doubt that the federal states will give their required consent on March 18th. The new Tobacco Products Directive will then come into effect in May as specified.
German politicians are celebrating this as a great victory in the fight against tobacco use and congratulate themselves for resisting the tobacco industry’s lobbying pressure. Well, it is a victory, but not for German politicians, or for public health in Germany. Since its first draft appeared in June 2015, the bill has been massively changed due to tobacco industry interference.
The first draft aimed at combined health warnings for all tobacco products. The new law will make exceptions for cigars and pipe tobacco.
The first draft aimed at an immediate ban of menthol. A ban on menthol is now postponed until 2020.
The first draft aimed at applying the new rules to all tobacco products produced in Germany. The new law will allow exceptions for products that will be exported to non-EU countries.
And finally, the first draft aimed at an immediate ban on outdoor advertising of tobacco products. This was completely removed: an outdoor advertising ban is now scheduled for 2020.
In other words, Germany will do what it has to do according to the TPD 2 and won’t go any further. Before a coming TPD 3 might call for it, Germany will probably not introduce a display ban, a ban on advertising at points of sale, a ban on brand stretching, a ban on tobacco industry sponsorship and plain packs.
German politicians still put the industry’s interests above public health. During the parliamentary debate one of these politicians expressed it this way: ”Only few people know, that 65 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Europe are produced in Germany – in German factories according to German standards, by German workers – and analyzed in German laboratories. I don’t want this to change.”
There really is not much to celebrate in Germany when it comes to tobacco control.
Tobacco industry’s influence on German Tobacco Control Legislation
According to Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Germany is under the obligation to protect itself from the influence of the tobacco industry. How poorly this obligation is met is made obvious by the sheer number of interactions between politicians or ministry officials and tobacco industry representatives. Our – incomplete – summary of contacts shows, up to which point the tobacco industry is able to exert its influence.
British Medical Journal publishes article on physicians‘ protest action against tobacco trade fair in Dortmund
British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control has published an article on German physicians protesting against the world’s leading trade fair for tobacco products, “InterTabac”, in Dortmund, Germany. The tobacco trade fair is organized by a city-owned company and backed by the city’s mayor, thus constituting a blatant breach of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s article 5.3.
Tobacco lobby stubs out total German tobacco ad ban
When in June Germany’s federal minister of food and agriculture announced his plans for converting the Tobacco Product Directive into German law, his ambitions were high: an immediate ban on menthol, pictorial health warnings for cigars and pipe tobacco and above all a ban on outdoor advertising for tobacco products. Now in December not much is left of these ambitious plans. Euractiv published an interesting article on this in English, originally printed in the German newspaper “Der Tagesspiegel”.
France to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes
On February 3rd the French National Assembly voted for the introduction of plain cigarette packs. The provision is to be implemented by May 2016. The Assembly also voted for other measures to reduce the use of tobacco, among them a display ban at points of sale, a smoking ban in cars when children are present, a commitment of the tobacco industry to transparency and a ban of tobacco flavorings according to the new Tobacco Products Directive. In a next step the plans will be discussed in the Senate, an approval is deemed certain. We congratulate our French colleagues and hope very much that this will have an effect on Germany, which is so near to France on the map but still so far away when it comes to tobacco control.
Posters to be seen at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health
Forum Rauchfrei will be present at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi and show three posters depicting its work and some of the problems tobacco control faces in Germany. The first poster shows Germany’s President Joachim Gauck and Germany’s First Lady in front of a sponsoring board showing the logo of British American Tobacco, one of the main sponsors of the Federal Press Ball, which Gauck was attending in December 2014. The second one shows members of Forum Rauchfrei pasting over tobacco ads. Large outdoor billboards showing tobacco ads are still legally put up in the streets of Germany, although Germany has ratified FCTC and is obliged to implement a comprehensive ban of all forms of tobacco advertising. The third poster shows the mayor of the German city of Dortmund and wants to draw attention to the Inter-tabac in the German city of Dortmund, the world’s biggest trade fair for tobacco products, organized by a city-owned company. In February 2014, Dortmund wanted to hold an offshoot of this trade fair, the Inter-tabac ASIA, in Bali. Thanks to massive international protests this trade fair had to be cancelled. The Inter-tabac in Dortmund, however, is still held each year and getting bigger and bigger.
Protest Rally against Reemtsma Liberty Award Ceremony on March 5th
The Reemtsma Liberty Award was initiated in 2007 by the German cigarette manufacturer Reemtsma (part of Imperial Tobacco Group) as part of an image campaign. The award is given to journalists, who from the company’s point of view have rendered outstanding services to liberty. Reemtsma succeeds again and again in attracting prestigious personalities for its award ceremonies, last year the speech was held by Glenn Greenwald, before there were Salman Rushdie or Mohamed ElBaradei. This year Luis Moreno Ocampo, until 2012 prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, will be the keynote speaker.
We will hold a protest rally against this on March 5th 2015. You will find more details in the invitation below and you can watch a video of last year’s protests on youtube.
Der Spiegel reports on criticized tobacco sponsoring
Again and again tobacco companies succeed in improving their images by sponsoring events. And when doing so, they also know how to use politicians for their purposes. Recently German president Joachim Gauck had his picture taken in front of British American Tobacco’s logo when he attended the Bundespresseball (federal press ball) in Berlin. Subsequently Forum Rauchfrei wrote him a letter asking him to speak out against tobacco industry sponsoring. The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on this. You will find a translation of the article below.
German newspaper „Neues Deutschland“ reports on protest action of Forum Rauchfrei
In its edition of 21st of October the German newspaper „Neues Deutschland“ reports on the attempts of Philip Morris, a company which had been actively involved in cigarette smuggling for decades, to dominate the discussion on illicit cigarette trade. The report was occasioned by a conference on smuggling, organized by the Europäische Akademie Berlin (European Academy Berlin) and financed by the tobacco company. The report also takes up Forum Rauchfrei’s criticism of the event. The attempts of combating illicit cigarette trade are undermined by the tobacco company, they say.
Ban tobacco advertising now!
Members of the German Bundestag paste over tobacco ad
Today two members of the German Bundestag pasted over an advertising poster in Potsdam as part of a protest action of Forum Rauchfrei (Forum Smokefree). The act aimed at underlining the demand for a long overdue comprehensive ban of all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in Germany.
Update on Marlboro Maybe Campaign in Germany
After the start of the campaign in 2011 Forum Rauchfrei filed more than a dozen complaints against the ads, as they clearly targeted young people. We then turned to the health ministers of the different federal states in Germany and the federal minister for consumer protection. Although the campaign was finally stopped in Germany at the end of 2013 by the Landratsamt München (the administrative district office of Munich, the city in which PM has its German headquarters), recently new ad posters for Marlboro showing the slogan “Maybe” appeared in the streets (yes, outdoor advertising for tobacco products is still allowed in Germany!). As these new posters do not show any of the old pictures and the slogans do not openly address young people, this is not a breach of German laws. We have already complained about these new ads, as we think people seeing these will automatically recall the campaign and its pictures from 2013, but are not sure of our complaint’s outcome. Meanwhile we have found another way of dealing with these posters, namely by simply pasting them over (for pictures please follow the link below).
Following the Cancellation of a Tobacco Trade Fair in Singapore Forum Rauchfrei Aims at Stopping the Planned Tobacco Trade Fair Inter-tabac in Dortmund
The tobacco trade fair World Tobacco Asia in Singapore has been cancelled. The trade magazine Tobacco Journal states that the Singapore government had exerted pressure on the organizer as reason for this. The organizer of the trade fair therefore deemed it appropriate to make an early decision instead of being left with doubts about its safety and positive completion.
Forum Rauchfrei is still permitted to shed light on tobacco trade fair on intertabac.org website – Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH failed in attempted censorship before international arbitration Panel
Attempts of the Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH to prevent criticism of their organizing tobacco trade fairs have come to naught. The trade fair company had brought proceedings against Johannes Spatz because he had had registered the name intertabac.org for the protest campaign against the organization of tobacco trade fairs. Visitors of the domain intertabac.org are immediately directed to the Dortmund kills website. There they will find information about the course of the campaign which led to the prevention of the tobacco trade fair Inter-tabac ASIA. On May 27th 2014, the arbitration panel of the UN organization for intellectual property (WIPO) stated, that this practice was legitimate with the result that the complaint was denied.
The complaint by Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH can be obtained from Forum Rauchfrei (+49 30 74755922), the decision by WIPO is to be found by following the link below..
Forum Rauchfrei appeals to Singapore’s Minister of Health to stop the planned tobacco trade fair World Tobacco Asia
After the ban of the tobacco trade fair Inter-tabac ASIA 2014 by the Governor of Bali, the organizers of the World Tobacco Asia, scheduled to be held in Indonesia as well, thought the venue unsafe and relocated the tobacco trade fair to Singapore. Into a country, of all countries, which is being lauded for its leading role with respect to tobacco control as hardly another. That is why Forum Rauchfrei appealed to Singapore’s minister of health to stop the trade fair.
Tobacco Trade Fair in Bali Cancelled by Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH on Short Notice
Two days ago the Westfalenhallen company informed the public on its homepage about the cancellation of the tobacco trade fair “Inter-tabac ASIA”, which was planned to be held on February 27th. and 28th. The cancellation was preceded by worldwide massive protests. The governor of Bali had lately repeatedly announced, to stop the trade fair. The Westfalenhallen had praised Indonesia as “booming” tobacco market and at the same time completely ignored, that the extremely high number of adolescent smokers would rise even more due to the planned trade fair. The Westfalenhallen company is completely owned by the city of Dortmund.
Open Letter to Indonesian Minister of Health
The governor of Bali has repeatedly declared his intention to stop the tobacco trade fair Inter-tabac ASIA 2014. In spite of massive protests in Indonesia, the fair’s organizer, the German city owned company Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH, still insists on carrying through the fair. In an open letter, organizations from Europe, Asia and the U.S. have now asked the Indonesian minister of health to back the governor’s decision and to speak out openly against tobacco trade fairs in Indonesia.
Cancellation of Inter-tabac ASIA 2014 in Bali is highly probable
According to the latest news from Bali, the tobacco trade fair Inter-tabac ASIA 2014 will not be held as planned. In a report of February 11th the Bali Daily is citing the governor of Bali: “I will certainly halt the exhibition if the committee still insists on holding the event here.” This decision was lauded the next day by the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association. The trade fair’s organizer, the German Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH, however, according to their website still maintain, that the fair will take place as scheduled on February 27th.-28th. 2014 at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center.
City of Dortmund’s Tobacco Trade Fair in Indonesia: Mayor Sierau Refuses to Accept Petition
Nearly 12,000 people signed the petition addressed to the mayor of Dortmund (Ullrich Sierau), which Max Vollmer and Yosef Rabindanata Nugraha wanted to hand over in the Dortmund city hall on February 3rd. The petition aims at stopping the tobacco trade fair Inter-tabac ASIA 2014, which the city-owned Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH aims to carry through in Bali. The mayor however was not willing to welcome the bearers of the petition.
Extensive media coverage of protests against Inter-tabac ASIA 2014 in Bali
Protests against the organization of the Inter-tabac ASIA 2014 by the city-owned German company Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH have now found a wide echo in the Indonesian media. Over the weekend up to 20 articles could be found in Indonesian newspapers. Protests in Indonesia have now reached a level, which can no longer be ignored by the Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH or the mayor of Dortmund.
Initiatives on Smoking Bans in Germany: a Review
On January 3rd the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published the article ”Smoke-Free Laws and Direct Democracy Initiatives on Smoking Bans in Germany: A Systematic Review and Quantitative Assessment.” The authors systematically review federal and state laws regulating smoking as well as petitions, popular initiatives and referenda that aimed at changing statutory smoking bans.
“Tobacco Control” publishes a contribution by Forum Rauchfrei
In its latest issue “Tobacco Control” publishes a contribution by Forum Rauchfrei on the role played by the city-owned Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH in organizing the tobacco trade fair “Inter-tabac Asia 2014” in Indonesia. By exporting the Dortmund-based “Inter-tabac” to a country, in which cigarettes are sold even to children, the trade fair company aims to open the door to the booming Southeast-Asian market for the tobacco industry and thus neglects all ethical values.
“The Local – Germany’s English Speaking Newspaper” reports on suggestions to follow the example of New York and to raise the legal smoking age in Germany to 21. Please note: In Germany the number of young people smoking has dropped from about 28 percent in 2003 to under 12 percent today, not by 28 percent as printed erroneously in the article.
City of Dortmund Promotes the Sale of Tobacco
The world’s biggest trade fair for tobacco goods and smokers‘ requirements, the Inter-tabac, is scheduled to be held in the city of Dortmund, Germany, from September 20th to 22nd. The trade fair is organized by the Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH, a company completely owned by the city of Dortmund. The city-owned company is not merely managing the trade fair but organizes it completely, maintains a tight-woven net of relationships to the exhibiting companies, offers a stage for tobacco-related presentations and advertises the “world’s biggest marketplace for the tobacco branch” on the internet.
Berlin Cancer Society Tolerates Cooperation of Members of its Foundation’s Board of Trustees with the Tobacco Industry
On March 20th 2013 Reemtsma’s award presentation ceremony for the company’s Liberty Award was staged in Berlin. With a market share of 24.3 % Reemtsma is the second biggest cigarette producing company in Germany. The Reemtsma Liberty Award includes a prize money of 15,000 Euro and has been awarded for the seventh time.
This year the award was presented by jury member Dr. Claudia Nothelle. Dr. Nothelle is the programme director of the Berlin Brandenburg Broadcasting Company and also chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Berlin Cancer Foundation. The Berlin Cancer Foundation is part of the Berlin Cancer Society. Asked for a statement, Dr. Nothelle did not see a problem in her participation in the tobacco company’s award ceremony, though she conceded, that companies award prizes to better their images. Subsequently we asked the chairman of the Berlin Cancer Society, Prof. Dr. h.c. P. M. Schlag, to disengage Dr. Nothelle from her post as chairwoman of the board of trustees. Prof. Dr. h.c. P. M. Schlag answered, that the demand for such a demission was not justified. Thus the participation of Dr. Nothelle in an event hosted by a tobacco company has now become a problem of the Berlin Cancer Society. This problem is intensified by the participation of another member of the board of trustees of the Berlin Cancer Foundation, Gero von Boehm, in the event.
Prof. Dr. h.c. P. M. Schlag justifies his decision arguing that Dr. Nothelle’s bearing would not shed a positive light on the tobacco industry. Nevertheless she allows Reemtsma to use her name in advertising the company’s award, as the company does for example in its press releases. As stated above, Dr. Nothelle is aware of the fact, that Reemtsma uses the award to better its image. It should be taken for granted that the chairwoman of the board of trustees of a cancer foundation clearly disassociates herself from the tobacco industry. In this case however a clear distance is not perceptible.
The guidelines for the implementation of Article 5.3 of the Law on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control can be seen as a standard for dealing with the tobacco industry. These guidelines state, that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.
As chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Berlin Cancer Foundation Dr. Nothelle advocates public health policy interests. These are in no way consistent with her appearance at an event hosted by the tobacco industry. There can be absolutely no doubt, that any connection between the Berlin Cancer Society and the tobacco industry must be terminated.
Forum Rauchfrei has informed several international cancer societies about Dr. Nothelle’s participation in the award ceremony and asked them to call for her demission.
Dalli’s successor must not delay the new Tobacco Products Directive and must ensure complete transparency
Forum Rauchfrei calls on the EU Commission to hold on to its plan of toughening the Tobacco Products Directive and to release the long-announced directive before the end of the year. Under no circumstances may Health Commissioner John Dalli’s resignation lead to a delay or dilution of tobacco control plans.
The City of Hamburg’s Representation’s summer party in Berlin is again co-financed by tobacco companies
Hamburg’s Representation’s summer party in Berlin, which took place on September 4th, was made possible by an astonishingly large number of sponsors – among them the tobacco giants Reemtsma and British American Tobacco (BAT). Both companies were allowed to put up booths at the party. A delegate of BAT was bid welcome by the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz. “In doing this Hamburg’s Representation disregards the guidelines to the law on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” criticises Johannes Spatz, one of Forum Rauchfrei’s spokesmen.
Forum Rauchfrei congratulates the Australian government on its victory over the tobacco industry
Australia’s government is an inspiring examole for us, showing that decisively taking the side of protecting people’s health stands a chance. The German Government’s reaction to the decision of the Australian court is inexcusable. Mechthold Dyckmans, Federal Government Drug Commissioner, sided with the wrong party. She rejects the introduction of plain packages in Germany as this would place too far reaching restrictions on the tobacco industry (see also the article in the Berliner Zeitung of August 16th).
In March this year, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, made the keynote speech at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore. She called for global action towards a tobacco-free world. Chan is a strong and courageous fighter against the tobacco industry. Margaret Chan speaks openly about the problems: “The enemy, the tobacco industry, has changed its face and its tactics. The wolf is not longer in sheep´s clothing, and its teeth are bared.” Her speech is indicative for the world.
Jose Manuel Barroso allows himself to be exploited by tobacco company British American Tobacco’s Foundation for Future Studies
It is an utter scandal, says Johannes Spatz, spokesmen of Forum Rauchfrei that the President of the European commission allows himself to be used for an image campaign for BAT. He calls on Barrose to distinctly distance himself from the foundation and BAT. The European Union’s efforts to drive back the use of tobacco were made totally worthless by this appearance.
Great Success for Non-Smokers’ Rights in Bavaria
In Bavaria corner bars, restaurants and marquees are completely smokefree from now on. Johannes Spatz, spokesman of Forum Rauchfrei, congratulates the Bavarians to their great success for the protection of non-smokers. “The Bavarian example encourages others, to fight for a smokefree gastronomy in Berlin and other federal states of Germany.”
Cigarette ad poster taken down on behalf of local authorities in Berlin
Streets in Berlin are awash with cigarette ads, as Japan Tobacco International is trying to launch a new brand. For the first time now, authorities decided to act and have posters taken down, that violate the German tobacco law. more