BERLIN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A large majority of Germans -- 69 percent -- are in favor of a complete ban on tobacco advertising, according to a survey conducted by the German opinion research institute Forsa and published on Monday.
Out of 1,003 respondents, only 27 percent were opposed to a ban on tobacco ads. In comparison, banning alcohol advertising was supported by 58 percent of respondents and opposed by 36 percent.
The survey informs a wider political debate in Germany regarding measures to "counteract harmful behavior by children and adults." Germany was, until recently, the only European Union member state to still allow tobacco advertisements in public areas, such as on posters or billboards.
Since 2016, a ban has been in place on tobacco advertising on radio, television as well as in newspapers and magazines. Politicians from the governing CDU/CSU conservative alliance and the coalition partner Social Democratic Party (SPD) are now planning to extend the ban.
Opposition to banning tobacco advertisements has come from some German politicians and the tobacco industry. Several politicians, such as former CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Volker Kauder wanted to limit the scope of the ban.
Back in November 2018, the German Cigarette Association (DZV) argued that tobacco advertising would not "lead to more people starting smoking or fewer consumers give up smoking."
A complete ban on tobacco advertising would have a "significant signal effect" and would cause "domino effects" for other sectors, such as alcohol, spirits or food, according to DZV. "Commercial communication for a legally manufactured and distributed product would be switched off" for the first time in Germany, DZV added.
According to the German Cancer Research Center (dkfz), smoking and its effects cause between 110,000 and 140,000 deaths per year in Germany. Smoking particularly affects the lungs and heart and has been responsible for up to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases.
Official figures from 2017 by the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) showed that 22.4 percent of German citizens smoke regularly or occasionally, while 77.6 percent have never smoked or have quit.