In Germany, several tobacco control policies have been implemented since 2002. These include tobacco tax increases, restrictions on sale and advertising, smoke-free legislation, and health warnings on tobacco products. All of those contributed to the emerging trend towards nonsmoking - especially among youth and young adults - as well as to the impressive decline of cigarette sales from 145.1 billion cigarettes in 2002 to 75.8 billion in 2017. Despite this, still 13% of all deaths are attributable to smoking in Germany.Other countries are acting in a more committed manner and are implementing much stronger tobacco control policies than Germany. Germany is the only EU country that doesn't yet have a billboard ban on tobacco advertising, the smoke-free legislation is weak due to exceptions, and for more than ten years the tobacco tax has not been markedly increased. Globally, more than 30 countries have implemented at the highest possible level four of the six most important tobacco control policies as defined by the World Health Organization - Germany has implemented only two policies. Therefore, on an international scale, Germany is clearly lagging behind in tobacco control and on the European Tobacco Control Scale it is ranked second last. A more committed and compelling approach towards tobacco control is required in Germany to reach a position in terms of protecting the population from the devastating health hazards of smoking, which would be appropriate for a leading industrial nation.
Keywords: Health protection; Primary prevention; Smoking; Smoking prevalence; Tobacco control.