Germans to Ex-Chancellor: Yes, We Mind

Schmidt, 89, defies new smoking ban, lights up in public
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2008 3:30 PM CST
Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt smokes a cigarette as he takes part in a debate at the foreign ministry in Berlin 24 January 2006. Schmidt and his wife are being investigated for breaching a new...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – German anti-smoking groups are fuming over photos of ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt lighting up in a Hamburg theater in defiance of a ban on smoking in public places. Schmidt and his wife—"aged a lung-cancer-defying 89 and 88, respectively," Der Spiegel reports— face an investigation after an anti-smoking group sent police photos of the Jan. 6 event at which they were guests of honor.

Eleven of Germany’s 16 states now have smoking bans, including the Schmidts’ home state of Hamburg, where the prohibition took effect New Year's Day. Now under investigation for endangering public health, Loki Schmidt—like many Germans a proud raucher—remains defiant: "I've been smoking since I was 10," she told a German newspaper. "I won't stop."