Smoking in cars will no longer be allowed when children or pregnant women are passengers, according to the German Ministry of Health, reported dpa.
The ban, which has been demanded by the federal states for a long time, is provided for in a draft bill to amend the Non-Smoker Protection Act, which was made available to dpa after the media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reported on it first.
The draft by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach still has to be coordinated with other ministries before it is presented to the Cabinet.
According to the draft, the smoking ban, which already applies in public transport, should in future also be implemented "in closed vehicles in the presence of minors or pregnant women."
Several federal states have already launched initiatives since 2019 to enforce this extension, bringing fines of up to €3,000 into play in the event of a violation.
Most recently, the upper house of the German parliament, or Bundesrat, decided in March 2022 to introduce a corresponding bill in the lower house, the Bundestag.
The state government of Lower Saxony had justified this with reference to the German Cancer Research Centre, stating that the concentration of tobacco in cars could be five times "as high as in an average smoky pub."
For children and young people, this could cause damage to the lungs as well as respiratory diseases and middle ear infections.
Lauterbach wants to extend current smoking bans to include e-cigarettes and cannabis products as well in places where it is legally enforced.