Bavaria was the first federal state in Germany to enact comprehensive legislation for the protection of non-smokers in bars, restaurants and other public buildings. The law was preceded by six years of tough negotiations in the Bavarian Parliament. Because parliament could not reach a consensus, the decision was finally made in a referendum on 4 July 2010 in which 60% of people voted in favour of the law. Afterwards, it was quickly and widely accepted by the people of Bavaria.
It is hard to believe that smoking in hospitals has also only been banned since that date!
As a result of the measures taken, the number of smokers in Germany has decreased by an average of about 5% in the past 10 years. The good news is that the measures seem to be particularly successful among young smokers: the number of adolescent smokers has decreased from about 30% in 2001 to about 10%. However, we must not let up in our efforts because, unfortunately, 27% of Bavarians still smoke and, despite all the endeavours, every year about 125,000 people die as a consequence of tobacco consumption. In addition, Germany is the second worst country in Europe when it comes to measures to curb tobacco consumption. We are the only European country that still allows tobacco advertising on posters (The Tobacco Control Scale 2016 in Europe). The considerable socioeconomic differences related to smoking are also alarming: the lower the education level and household income, the higher the tobacco consumption rate. 41.6% of people without a school leaving certificate smoke compared with 20.0% of people who have attained the qualification required to enter university (‘Abitur’). Tobacco use is thus responsible for creating and increasing socioeconomic inequalities in disease and life expectancy (DEBRA 2018).
I am pleased that the 18th SRNT-E Annual Conference 2018 is taking place in Munich, hosted by the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität.
The main theme of this year’s conference, ‘Smoking and disease’, promises to stimulate interesting discussions and an important scientific exchange. In addition, the clinical section, where 200 colleagues will participate in smoking cessation training, will give you the treatment tools you need.
I wish you not only good discussions and valuable insights but also some moments of relaxation in Munich – also called Italy’s most northern city because of its excellent quality of life.