The safeguarding of the health and welfare of juveniles and adolescents is of utmost importance. Children and adolescents should never smoke or consume nicotine in any other form. As a responsible manufacturer, we therefore naturally and explicitly support the ban on the supply and consumption of all tobacco products as well as novel, potentially risk-reduced products to children and young people, as enshrined in § 10 of the Youth Protection Act. The same applies to all other legislative measures that are demonstrably suitable for preventing children and young people from smoking or using nicotine.
We also attach great importance to providing children and adolescents with continuous and evidence-based education on the potential hazards of smoking and using alternative products for their own health and that of others, starting as early as possible. In our view, this also entails that adult consumers should refrain from smoking or using e-cigarettes in the presence of children and adolescents.
All communication regarding our products, as well as general information about smoking or the use of novel, potentially risk-reducing products, is conducted with a sense of responsibility and aimed exclusively at adult consumers. This is regulated both by our strict marketing guidelines and our Code of Conduct, which apply globally to all companies in our group. For instance, our brand advertising only features individuals who are at least 30 years of age and whose appearance corresponds accordingly. Additionally, we refrain from using language that is typical of young people or directly or indirectly partnering with celebrities who are particularly popular with children and young people in our advertising campaigns.
However, these strict measures for the protection of minors, some of which go beyond the legal requirements, do not only apply to us as a responsible manufacturer. Reemtsma also obliges all its trade and distribution partners to strictly comply with these requirements. This includes measures to ensure that minors do not have access to tobacco products or to new, potentially risk-reduced products on the internet. To this end, Reemtsma is also intensively involved in the Federal Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE) and in the E-Cigarette Trade Association (VdeH).
The fact that the requirements for the protection of young people and the voluntary commitment of Reemtsma and the rest of the German tobacco industry are having an effect is proven, among other things, by the representative survey of the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) on the substance consumption of adolescents and young adults in Germany. Since 1973, it has regularly surveyed the smoking behaviour of young people in this country.
According to the latest available BZgA research report from June 2022, the proportion of 12- to 17-year-olds smoking cigarettes fell from 27.5 percent (2001) to only 6.1 percent by 2021. At the same time, the proportion of 12- to 17-year-old respondents in Germany who said they had never smoked rose steadily to almost 83 percent in 2021. The 30-day prevalence in relation to the use of e-cigarettes was also at a very low level in this age group in 2021, with a total of only 2.4 percent.
We are more than happy with this progress and explicitly endorse the German success model in terms of smoking and youth protection.