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Germany - Travelogue by TICAP director Atherton

12th October 2010

On my trip to Germany, and especially Bavaria where they have introduced a smoking ban, two myths about Germany can be nailed. The trains run on time, all of them left 5-10 minutes late, and the Germans have no sense of humour. They were like the English in someone saying something witty every 2-3 minutes.

I was invited to participate at a press conference of the BFT (Alliance for Freedom and Tolerance), a Bavarian organisation which is fighting the smoking ban. The press conference was held at the International Press Club in central Munich for 11 o'clock. With a panel of four people (including me) and some local journalists in the audience, I was asked to present my evidence on pub closures in the UK. In Germany, the smoking ban in the UK is held up by anti-smokers as an example how successful bans allegedly can be. My research published on the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) blog showed that average pub closures was 0.6% per year pre ban, and post ban at 2.8%, and that 3 in 4 pub closures in the UK can be directly attributed to the ban. My contribution was published in the Münchner Merkur (newspaper in Munich) on the 8th October. Subsequently I was asked to supply further research on the same topic and this has already been widely circulated among interested parties and politicians in Bavaria.

Then it was on to Schwetzingen, to a hotel, for the annual meeting of Netzwerk Rauchen, a German TICAP member organisation. Not only did we have the joy of smoking, eating and drinking at the same time but it was very well attended too.

David Atherton, member of the Board of Directors of TICAP.

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