Dhe drug commissioner of the federal government, Daniela Ludwig from the CSU, advocates a significant increase in the tobacco tax. Your ideas go far beyond what the Federal Ministry of Finance has already proposed to secure the income from the tobacco tax in the future. She does not give exact numbers yet. From the health committee of the Bundestag one can hear that a packet of cigarettes could be more than one euro more expensive. At the same time, Ludwig also praised the design from Olaf Scholz: “It is right to include e-cigarettes in the tax model for the first time and also to tax the tobacco heaters sensibly.”
Political correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.
The FAS said Ludwig further: “The question is whether we only think about the tax revenue or use the opportunity to work health policy and prevent more people from smoking.” At the same time, the drug commissioner wants to start the federal initiative “live smoke-free” in April. The Bundestag has approved one million euros for this. In addition, the so-called tobacco hotline of the Federal Center for Health Education is financially better equipped.
Ludwig also calls for drugs and therapies for smokers who want to get out of their addiction to be paid for through statutory health insurances in the future. “Our overall package consistently means that the products for smoking cessation from nicotine chewing gum to sprays to drugs against addiction are covered by the statutory health insurance, plus accompanying therapies. The costs for this are still much lower than if we let it go. ”Talks are currently underway with the coalition’s health politicians.
The spokesman for drug and addiction policy in the SPD parliamentary group, Dirk Heidenblut, told the FAS that “we could go a step further” with the tax. He also thinks it is right “if we get away from viewing drugs as a lifestyle that we can afford or not”. The chairman of the health committee, the CDU member Erwin Rüddel, on the other hand, is skeptical about the tax increase, but also advocates “giving more support to people in their desire to quit smoking”. So far there has been therapeutic support for smoking cessation financed by health insurances. “I have sympathy if we would extend this to medical support,” said Rüddel.
The MP Stephan Pilsinger, Ludwig’s party colleague and doctor from Munich, has a similar opinion: “I think a lot of the proposal to finance drugs and therapies for smoking cessation through the health insurances. It’s not about everyone who wants to stop smoking, gets it financed, but about those who are heavily dependent on nicotine. “
The drug commissioner emphasizes that her initiative is not directed against smokers, but against smoking. It is always worth quitting for smokers. Last year there were 127,000 tobacco deaths. Ludwig says: “Tobacco consumption is falling among young people, but anyone who has always been a smoker has more and more to do with the consequences the older they get. And the coronavirus is exacerbating the situation. Smokers in particular suffer from serious illnesses, and it is often a miserable death. ”In this respect, it is the right time for the initiative.