Last updated: September 17th 2019


Germany became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on March 16, 2005.

Smoke Free Places

Under federal law, smoking is restricted in indoor workplaces and public places.  Smoking areas may be permitted on means of transport where it is possible to have “physically separate units” (e.g., rail or passenger ships); however, smoking is prohibited on transport such as streetcars, trolleys, buses, and taxis. Sub-national laws apply at the Länder (state) level, and all 16 states have enacted laws restricting or banning smoking in places where states have authority. Sub-national laws may be more stringent than the national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Tobacco advertising is prohibited on TV, radio, and in most print publications. Other types of print advertising, such as flyers, posters, signs, and outdoor advertising, are not covered under the law. Point of sale advertising and promotion and product display are also allowed. Other types of promotional activity - such as brand stretching, promotional discounts, gifts and prizes, and retailer incentive programs - are not addressed in the law and therefore allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling

For smoked tobacco products, one of two authorized text warnings must occupy 30 percent of the front of the package, and one of 14 authorized text warnings must occupy 40 percent of the back of the package. The front and back warnings must be rotated so that they regularly appear on the packages.  However, the law does not specify how frequently the warnings are to be updated. For smokeless tobacco products, one text warning must occupy 30 percent of the front of the package. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation

In March 2007, Germany’s 16 Länder (states) concluded a framework agreement with the federal government, requiring states to adopt smoking regulations in the areas where states have authority - land, local institutions, educational facilities, healthcare facilities, cultural institutions, sport facilities, hospitality venues and other public places. All 16 states have passed laws restricting or banning smoking in indoor public places. Links to state laws can be found here:

At the federal level, smoking in indoor workplaces, indoor places, and public transport are governed by the Ordinance on Workplaces and the Law to Protect Against the Dangers of Passive Smoking (also known as the Federal Non-Smoker’s Protection Act). State (Länder) laws may be more protective, but not less protective, than federal law.

The Provisional Tobacco Act regulates, among other things, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. The Act also authorizes, among other things, regulations regarding packaging and labeling. The Tobacco Product Ordinance (issued under the Food and Consumer Products Act) regulates packaging and labeling including health messages, and tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide information. The Tobacco Ordinance (issued under the Food and Consumer Products Act) regulates allowable and prohibited substances in tobacco products. The Protection of Young Persons Act regulates numerous industries in relation to children and adolescents, including the sale of tobacco products, the prohibition on children and adolescents smoking in public places, and the sale of tobacco products through vending machines.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.