Nicotine Addiction An Ailment Says German Medical Society

To help Germany’s millions of smokers quit the habit, the country’s Federal Medical Society proposed Tuesday to reclassify tobacco addiction as an ailment.

According to German physicians, the idea behind the reclassification is to add pressure on nicotine addicts by placing a sick label to spur them to seek medical assistance.

But insurance companies are questioning the move as it would lead to a rise in compensation claims for what is considered a self-inflicted addiction. Annually, about 140,000 Germans die from smoking-related ailments. It prompted several states to impose a ban on smoking in public areas, including restaurants and bars.

But in July the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe declared the regional smoking prohibition in Berlin and Baden-Wurttemberg unconstitutional. The court said permitting large establishments to have separate smoking areas discriminates against smaller establishments. The rule paved the way to allow patrons of bars smaller than 800 square feet (75 square meters) to light up.


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