Despite public health initiatives, the proportion of people who smoke in Germany has actually risen in recent years, according to a new study.  

Proportion of smokers in Germany rising

One in three people in Germany above the age of 14 now smokes, according to the representative long-term study “German survey on smoking behaviour” by Debra. The statistics show that, before the coronavirus pandemic at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, 26 to 27 percent of the population smoked. By the end of 2021, this proportion had risen to 30,9 percent. 

Daniel Kotz, epidemiologist and director of Debra, said that the trend is a “frightening development”. He explained that the rising smoking rate is probably a lasting effect of the pandemic, with the restrictions to public life likely causing people to reach for tobacco products.

Germany’s long road to becoming smoke-free

“Politicians have a lot to do if Germany wants to become tobacco-free by 2040,” said Kotz. Germany has recently cracked down on tobacco advertising, hiked up the price of cigarettes and, for the first time, increased taxes on e-cigarettes as well. However, recent addiction reports show that there is still plenty of progress to be made. 

A number of countries around the world are stepping up efforts to become smoke free. New Zealand recently took the sweeping step of banning the sale of tobacco products to future generations, meaning young people under the age of 14 will never legally be able to buy tobacco products in the country. Closer to home, the Netherlands is considering imposing legislation to increase the price of a packet of cigarettes to as much as 47 euros. 

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