Ministries working on advertising ban: no fags, no sexism

Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas wants to stop sexist advertising. Federal Nutrition Minister Schmidt announces a ban on cigarette advertising on billboards.

Accordingly, the planned tobacco advertising ban should be in force from 2020 and also apply to e-cigarettes Photo: dpa

Billboard advertising for cigarettes and sexist advertising are to be banned according to plans of the German government. Federal Minister of Food Christian Schmidt (CSU) announced in the newspapers of the Funke media group that he wants to ban advertising for cigarettes on billboards and in cinemas. For his part, Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) plans to ban gender-discriminatory advertising, according to a Spiegel report.

Schmidt announced that his bill would be discussed "shortly" in the federal cabinet. "Children and young people in particular should not get the impression that smoking is harmless fun," said the CSU politician, explaining the move. According to him, Germany is the last country in the EU where unrestricted outdoor advertising for tobacco products is still permitted.

Accordingly, the planned tobacco advertising ban is to be in force from 2020 and also apply to e-cigarettes. According to the plans, it will extend to outdoor spaces such as billboards or advertising columns. Tobacco advertising on the outside of specialty stores, in sales outlets such as drinking halls or gas stations, however, is to remain permitted. In cinemas, the advertising ban is to apply to all films released for viewers under the age of 18.

According to Spiegel, Maas will soon submit his draft bill for a ban on gender-discriminatory advertising for departmental approval. Accordingly, an amendment to the law against unfair competition is planned.

According to the plans, posters or advertisements that reduce women or men to sexual objects could be banned in the future. In the event of a dispute, a court would make the decision. Currently, the Wettbewerbszentrale can only intervene against massively inhumane advertising; the German Advertising Council can also issue a reprimand.

According to the report, Maas is implementing a decision by the SPD party leadership with this plan. In response to the sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, the SPD had decided to establish a "more modern gender image" in Germany.

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