Germany has a characteristic that nobody know it. It is an event much less likely to end up in the country’s marketing data: it is a smoker’s trouble. In much of Europe, the smoking dispute has moved on to cigarette packaging. After achieving a ban on advertising and smoking in public, the no-smoking lobby now wants all pretty cigarette packets replaced with plain, bland wrapping to make them less attractive to children and adolescents.
In progressive Germany, meanwhile, the dispute remains censured in the early years of the century. Ardent visitors will notice that billboard ads for cigs is still permitted.
“We are the last country in Europe to permit direct promotion in the street,” declared Martina Pötschke-Langer, head of the unit for cancer prevention at the German Cancer Research Centre. Films in Germany still show cigarettes advertising after 6pm. Other forms of tobacco marketing are permitted at kindness events and even at rock concerts. While handing out free tobacco products is not permitted, it is legal to post free cigs to someone’s home address or to hand out cigarillos or roll-your-own tobacco. Brand operations – such as the sale of Marlboro clothes – is also allowed. The tobacco company in Germany provides regularly caterers with branded ashtrays, parasols, candle-holders, blankets and other knickknacks.
“Even though there is a general prohibition on tobacco advertisements on the internet in Germany, there is a legal smoke area and the cigarettes makers and tobacco dealers use the internet for to advertise their business,” explained the German Cancer Research Centre. “Tobacco companies have set up business websites with detailed information about the company, its philosophy and its products. There are no reliable access controls to ensure that only adults visit these websites.”