Helmut Schmidt update…
Former German Chancellor Stays One Step Ahead of European Nannies, Hoards Cigarettes
Jul. 9, 2013
By Matthew Feeney
The 94-year-old former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has hoarded 38,000 menthol cigarettes in his house, fearing that they could be banned by the EU.
Schmidt, 94, has a carte blanche when it comes to smoking. Whether on live television or indoors at political conventions, the former-Chancellor is allowed to light up where he pleases.
But it would seem even he is not above EU law, as central parliament in Brussels is considering banning his favourite vice – menthol cigarettes.
One step ahead, Schmidt has apparently stashed 200 cartons of his preferred brand, Reyno, in his house, the Hamburger Morgenpost revealed. This means that he has enough to keep him on a packet a day until he turns 100.
Responsible for outing his secret is Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbr?ck of Schmidt’s old party the Social Democrats.
Happy Birthday, Helmut Schmidt!
They just had a laugh.
??? Schmidt: No, this hysteria didn’t exist yet.
??? Interviewer: Would you advise young people today not to start smoking?
??? Schmidt: I wouldn’t give unrequested advice to anyone.[…]
??? Interviewer: Have you never tried to quit smoking altogether?
??? Schmidt: No, I’m not crazy. […]
??? Interviewer: Cynics argue that smokers are beneficial for common welfare: They pay billions of tobacco taxes and die earlier.
??? Schmidt: I can’t do you the favor of dying early anymore. (Lights another cigarette.) It s too late for that now. (Helmut Schmidt laughs.)
Smoking Ban Proves Costly for German Bars
In the fourth quarter of 2007, revenue dropped by 14.1 percent more than the previous year for bars located in states with smoking bans. Those in states without bans collected only 8.8 percent less than during the same period in 2006.
“The majority of the guests appreciate the smoking ban when they’re eating,” Julius Wagner from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) told AP news agency. He added that sales suffered in particular in smaller pubs that aren’t able to offer a separate smoking room.
The association has said it advocates making exceptions to the ban for one-room pubs. Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is slated to examine the matter this coming week.
Industry already plagued with financial woes
Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lower Saxony were the first states to introduce smoking bans in August 2007, with Hesse following in October.
Sales in beverage-oriented pubs and bars in states with smoking bans dropped by 9.8 in the third quarter of 2007, 3 percent more than in the rest of the country.
An additional nine states implemented smoking bans at the beginning of 2008. Though a first-quarter loss of 4.6 percent was registered for pubs and bars in the 14 states with bans, the statistical office said a comparison with the other two states was not possible.
Restaurants and eateries in states with smoking bans recorded a 0.8 loss compared to the first quarter last year.
Dehoga has said that gastronomic revenues have already been slipping over the past several years, due to a 2007 increase in value-added tax, higher beer prices and soaring energy costs.
Public smoking ban makes rebels of Germans
May 29, 2008
BERLIN (AFP) — In Europe, even the Italians and French are respecting public smoking bans, but Germany’s bid to implement one is proving as relapse-prone as the New Year’s resolutions of nicotine addicts.
A ban has been in force in most of the normally order-loving nation since January 1, the day cafes in France put away the ashtrays after more than a century of tobacco-stained bonhomie and smokers decamped to the pavement.
That evening former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt was photographed lighting up at a Hamburg theatre and five months later the air has still not cleared.
Bars in Berlin have been granted a reprieve, restaurants in Bavaria have found a loophole by converting to private clubs and the state’s famed Oktoberfest will for now remain a smoking zone.
That decision was taken by Bavarian premier Guenther Beckstein, who is due to fight state elections during the world’s biggest beer festival this year and openly worries that the ban will cost his conservatives votes.
In three other German states courts have watered down the new tobacco laws, ruling that in smaller pubs sparking up is legal again.
“The smoking ban is a failure,” said Siggi Ermer, the chairman of the country’s biggest anti-tobacco lobby, Pro Rauchfrei.
“It has not worked in the same way that it has in Italy, France or Britain. The difference is that there in each case you have a clear law that has put in place an absolute ban.
“Here we have a host of laws and major interpretation problems.”
A few years ago the government abandoned the fraught prospect of trying to enforce a federal ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.
Instead it let the country’s 16 states write their own anti-tobacco laws.
“The government simply got cold feet,” said Martina Poetschke-Langer from the German Cancer Research Centre, who accuses politicians of being beholden to the tobacco industry with its history of sponsoring party conferences.
“So we have 16 different laws and we have 100 exemptions on those laws. Which makes it fair to say that the exception has become the rule.”
The regional bans took effect piecemeal from late last year, when smoking on trains also became illegal.
On October 1, travellers going through Frankfurt international airport found that the smokers’ corner with its powerful extractor fan had been shut.
But restaurants in the German banking capital have been allowed to open separate smoking areas and the cigarette ban unravels in downtown pubs as the night wears on.
The head of Frankfurt’s civil order office, Hasso Haas, said his staff has better things to do than chase smokers.
“We are not the anti-smoking police. We do not patrol. If we receive a complaint we will look into it, but no, we are not proactive. It is our interpretation of the law that we do not have to be, and I think our colleagues in other states see things the same way,” he told AFP.
Haas said his office instituted a period of grace and had only began issuing fines in March.
“Since then we have fined 25 pubs 280 euros (440 dollars) each but nobody has paid up.”
He predicted that before long the ban in bars would be relaxed throughout the country, where nearly one in three adults smoke.
“I’ll bet that within a year we will see a nationwide liberalisation. There is massive resistance and you cannot have exceptions in some places and not in others, people find it unfair and defy the law.”
The revolt has been led by small pubs who say their earnings have dropped by a third and that one in ten may have to close.
In the states of Saxony, Schlweswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate, courts have lifted the ban in single-room bars, provided the owners serve the drinks themselves and do not force staff to compromise their health.
Pro Rauchfrei’s Ermer says what is happening cannot be explained by economics or a lack of enforcement alone — one needs to understand the national psyche.
“Germans smoke with a vengeance. Nowhere else, not even in France or Italy, have I ever seen anything like it.”
Andreas Hoehn, a historian having a pint at his local in Leipzig, found the ban patronising.
“I don’t smoke but I think this is an attack on personal freedom. The state is treating adults like children.”
At “Frau Krause”, another bar in the eastern city, owner Sascha Pahnke agreed, saying: “It harks back to this typical German mania for regulating everything.”
The anti-tobacco lobby hopes that the German constitutional court, which is due to hear three challenges to the ban in June, will send lawmakers back to the drawing board.
“Maybe the court will say we need a proper federal ban, it has the power to do that. It’s our secret hope,” said Poetschke-Langer.
In Berlin’s bars people worry between puffs about July, when local authorities have vowed to start enforcing the ban and close down those who fail to comply.
“We packed away the ashtrays at the beginning of the year, and people were really unhappy. And of course once one person lights a cigarette, you cannot stop the rest,” said Peter Meffert, the barman at “Der Wuergeengel” (the Angel of Death).
“So now we have to do it again and they are still not going to be happy.”
Jan 25, 2008
BERLIN (Reuters) – German anti-smoking activists are trying to bring charges against 89-year-old former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and his wife for breaking a new smoking ban in Hamburg, the group said on Friday.
Schmidt, Social Democrat chancellor from 1974 to 1982, and his wife Loki are well known for lighting up in public. Many photographs of Schmidt, now revered in Germany as an elder statesman, show him through a cloud of smoke.
Anti-smoking activists in the western city of Wiesbaden have taken legal action against the couple after pictures of them puffing away at a reception in a Hamburg theatre appeared in the press and on television.
“They were recklessly smoking in public and someone like Mr Schmidt should know better — he is setting a very bad example, so we launched legal proceedings,” activist Horst Keiser told Reuters.
He reported them to the Hamburg authorities for personal injury and for breaking the new anti-smoking law.
Two German newspapers quoted Ruediger Bagger from Hamburg’s prosecutors’ office as saying they were looking into the case.
Keiser said he wanted the Schmidts to be fined a few thousand euros and for the money to be donated to a children’s charity. He also wanted them to stop smoking in public.
Most of Germany’s 16 states, including Schmidt’s home state of Hamburg, introduced a smoking ban in indoor public places, including cafes, bars and restaurants, this month.
Police in some states, including Berlin, are not enforcing fines, which can be up to 1,000 euros, for violations.