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Berlin woman faces €250,000 fine if she smokes on balcony past 8pm

A woman in Berlin has been banned from smoking on her balcony past 8pm – a violation the ban could lead to a fine of up to €250,000, or six months in prison.

Uta F., 52, has lived in her Berlin-Hellersdorf apartment for the past nine years, but now her occasional nightly routine of having an evening cigarette has been halted by a court, according to B.Z..

Her upstairs neighbour took her to court because he said the smoke coming from her balcony was blowing into his apartment and bothering him.

Uta F. told B.Z. that she enjoyed having her evening cigarette on her balcony in her fourth floor apartment.

“I don’t smoke a lot – in the evening with wine or sometimes when I cannot sleep at night,” she said.

But a local court ruled that Uta F. may no longer smoke on her balcony between 8pm and 6am. The two parties ultimately agreed to the conditions of the judgement, and Uta F. may therefore not appeal, a civil court spokeswoman told broadcaster rbb on Monday evening.

The judge further stated that if the woman were to violate the conditions, she would face a fine of up to €250,000, or six months in prison.

“This punishment is, however, very unlikely,” the court spokeswoman said.

The judgement had been based on a federal court ruling in 2015 that said smoking tenants are only guaranteed to be able to smoke on their balconies during limited time periods, because the smoke presents a significant disturbance to others.

In that case, two married couples had battled it out for years over one couple’s smoking habits. After the federal court ruling, the case was sent back to a lower court for further review, but was ultimately thrown out because the wife in the pair of smokers had died.

Last year, one of Germany’s ‘most famous smokers’ won a years-long legal battle against eviction before a Düsseldorf court. The court found that there was not sufficient evidence to show that he was disturbing the peace.

One liberal politician from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) condemned the latest ruling in Berlin. The Berlin state parliament representative and FDP spokesman for legal and constitutional protection said that he could only shake his head at the ruling.

“Forbidding an occasional smoker from having an evening cigarette on her own balcony constitutes a very big encroachment on her personal sphere,” said the FDP’s Holger Krestel.

Going graphic: shock photos on German cigarette packs

Smokers in Germany will have to face gruesome photos on cigarette packs starting May 20. In other countries, images of black lungs on tobacco packaging are already routine.

The slogan’s not enough

So far, cigarette packs in Germany only come with slogans like “Smoking kills.” But starting May 20, tobacco companies have to cover two thirds of the packaging with deterrent images. With the new law, Germany is implementing a 2014 EU regulation. “Our goal is to prevent young people from starting to smoke,” Social Democrat drug policy spokesman Burkhard Blienert said.


High court blocks sale of e-liquids

The Federal High Court of Justice (BGH) ruled sales of e-liquids containing nicotine violate current law governing allowable ingredients in tobacco products, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported.

The impact of the ruling is unclear because Germany is in the process of revising its laws on tobacco products, the newspaper said on its website. German law must conform to the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) by 20 May. The TPD regulates e-cigarettes for the first time.

Under current German law, which does not address vaping products, liquids such as the ethanol used in e-cigarette liquids are banned from tobacco products, the SZ said. E-cigarettes are subject to current law on tobacco products because the nicotine in e-liquids comes from tobacco, according to the BGH. The high court in its ruling did not clearly define which e-liquid ingredients were illegal, said the SZ.

Handed down 23 Dec but only now made public, the BGH ruling upholds a fine levied by a lower court in Frankfurt against a man who sold e-cigarettes and liquids in his store and online. During the proceedings, authorities confiscated 15,000 bottles of e-liquid from the business.

A statement by the VdeH e-cigarette industry association said the German court ruling violates EU trade provisions. Sales of e-cigarettes and liquids have been legal throughout the EU since the TPD first was approved in May, 2014, the VdeH said. “This judgement is a bad joke,” said VdeH Chairman Dac Sprengel. “We ask the German authorities not to take any hasty action.”

Tobacco Atlas Germany 2015: New data, new facts

In Germany, 121,000 people die from the consequences of smoking each year. This means that smoking is implicated in 13.5 percent of all deaths. The death rate from smoking is higher in the north of Germany than in the south of the country.

These regional variations reflect variations in the smoking behavior in the German states. Across all states, more men than women die from the health consequences of smoking. Following the first report of this type in 2009, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) now presents its second Tobacco Atlas, which again summarizes current data and facts about tobacco use, health hazards that are associated with it as well as consequences for society.

Dr. Martina Pötschke-Langer, head of DKFZ’s Cancer Prevention Unit and the WHO Collaboration Center for Tobacco Control, based at the DKFZ, declares: “The Tobacco Atlas shows that we still have to make great efforts to achieve further progress in our struggle to decrease the rate of smokers and to protect tobacco control policy from the interests of the tobacco industry.”

The Tobacco Atlas summarizes the latest data on regional and gender-specific variations in tobacco use and analyzes how these trends have changed over time. The highest death rates among smokers of both genders are found in the German city states of Bremen and Berlin, where 23 percent of men and 11 percent of women die from the consequences of smoking. The smoking-related death rates among men are lowest in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria (17 and 18 percent); for women in Saxony and Thuringia (4 and 5 percent).

While the smoking behavior in the age group between 25 and 69 years has remained largely stable since 2009, smoking rates among young adults and minors have been dropping continuously. At the same time, electronic inhalation products such as e-cigarettes and e-shishas have emerged on the market and created new consumer trends. They have become particularly popular among youth: About one third of young people between 12 and 17 years of age has smoked shisha at least once and one quarter of youth in this age group has tried e-cigarettes.

The cigarette has always been and continues to be a toxic mixture and its consumption entails severe hazards to health. Illnesses caused by smoking include, above all, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Cancer accounts for 52 percent of smoking-related deaths in men, and 41 percent in women. In recent years, the list of tobacco-related diseases has been extended by type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration as well as tuberculosis and further types of cancer such as liver cancer and bowel cancer. Nicotine, which is contained in tobacco and electronic inhalation products, is addictive and, as recent research results have shown, anything but a harmless substance. Nicotine is toxic and suspected to promote chronic diseases such as arteriosclerosis as well as the development and progression of cancer and – if consumed during pregnancy – to cause long-term and lasting impairment to the lung and brain development in the unborn child.

Besides causing harm to people’s health, smoking also causes a high financial burden for society at large. In Germany, the societal cost of smoking is about € 80 billion each year. Of these, approximately one third is health care costs (direct costs) and two thirds are economic costs due to productivity loss and early retirement (indirect costs).

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) publishes this new edition of the Tobacco Atlas in order to present the latest scientific facts and figures to the public and the media as well as to urge political decision-makers to take action based on the information outlined. In 2005, the World Health Organization created the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which is legally binding also for Germany. Nevertheless, Germany has failed to or only inadequately implemented a number of measures foreseen therein, in particular, regular considerable increases in the tax on tobacco and a comprehensive advertising ban.

The shortfalls in Germany’s tobacco control policy also become obvious in comparison with other European countries. Since 2007, when Germany first introduced non-smoker protection legislation at the federal level – and, soon after, also in the German states –, the country has not taken any substantial new tobacco control measures. Not only has it failed to raise tobacco tax considerably and regularly, it also has not enacted a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising (Germany and Bulgaria are the only countries in Europe where large-sized tobacco advertising on billboards and advertising pillars is still allowed). In addition, non-smoker protection in catering establishments continues to be patchy and with many exceptions. For this reason, Germany was ranked second to last in a ranking of tobacco control policy of the European countries in 2013.


Electronic Cigarettes – An Overview

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Study: E-Cigarettes Have 10x More Cancer Causing Chemicals Than Traditional Cigarettes (And How To Detox Yourself)

I brand new study has identified carcinogenic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzopyrene, as well as silicate and other metal particles in standard E-Cigarettes. “E-cigarettes are an uncontrolled experiment with consumers,” according to a report from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

Some of the volatile organic compounds contained within e-cigarettes are glycol, nicotine, and flavors that are emitted into the air. The study shows these liquid particles are able to penetrate deeply into your lungs. Even second hand exposure can lead to health effects according to the German Cancer Research Center.

Of course, you don’t need a study to tell you that E-Cigarettes aren’t safe. It’s probably a bad idea to inhale a vapor when you aren’t able to identify all of the chemicals in said vapor. If you don’t want to smoke cigarettes anymore, that’s awesome. I quit and so can you. Instead of using electronic cigarettes, try this cigarette detox cocktail:

Mix equal parts lemon, eucalyptus essential oils, and a dash of black pepper. Apply to the skin under your nose and inhale deeply when the urge to smoke arises. It’ll help cleanse your lungs and train you not to want a cigarette.

Good luck with quitting, and remember: electronic cigarettes have no place in your quitting plan.